Four Tampa Bay runners accustomed to training at sea level took on one of the most daunting challenges a flatlander could imagine this month when they tried to run up Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colo.
"I had heard about the race from relatives who live out there," said Trish Myers, a 38-year-old from Clearwater. "So I thought, why not go for it."
Myers first attempted to conquer the 14,000-foot mountain in 2005 but failed.
"The mountain beat me," she said. "But I was going to come back and beat the mountain."
She returned Aug. 16 with Kim Murphy (Clearwater), Karen Vest (Safety Harbor) and Christiane Cimon (Riverview) to make her fourth attempt.
But a severe storm, the worst weather in the history of the race, forced Myers and more than 1,200 other runners, to turn around at the 10-mile mark. Only 761 made it to the top.
"There were numerous cases of frostbite and hypothermia," said. "There are no access roads. We basically hiked up and down from 15 to 19 miles in frigid temperatures."
Myers and her crew were not deterred. They plan to try again next year.
Arc-Ace of Diamond 4.4 Miler
Nola Johnson, a 40-year-old from Tarpon Springs, was the overall Masters winner with a time of 33.32 at a 4.4-miler in Clearwater on Aug. 17.
Other top female finishers included Mary Stewart-Wong, 52 of Safety Harbor, 37:20, in the 50-54 age group and Rosalyn Randall, 58 of Oldsmar, 37:57 in the 55 to 59 age group.
Top male age group finishers included: Brad May, 19 of Dunedin, 31:05 (15-19); Albert Moreno III, 21 of Dunedin, 26:20 (20-24); Spencer Gross, 36 of Clearwater, 33:35 (35-39); James Hummel, 47 of Tarpon Springs, 29:11 (45-49); Gar Flisek, 63 of Dunedin, 33:24 (60-64); and Duncan Cameron, 65 of Palm Harbor, 30:11 (65-69).
Among the race walkers, Lynne Randall, a 56-year-old from St. Petersburg, was the fastest female with a time of 53:39.
Four members of the Florida Maverick Masters recently swam in the United States Masters Swimming Long Course National Championships at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore.
Paul Hutinger, competing in the 80-84 age group, was the national champion in the 200-meter backstroke. Patricia Tullman, competing in the 70-74 age group, was the national champion in the 50-meter butterfly. Margie Hutinger, 65-69, placed 10th in the 400-meter freestyle and Jack Guze, 60-64, swimming in his first national meet, placed sixth in the 50-meter backstroke.
The four swimmers also placed eighth in the 200-meter mixed medley and 10th in the 200-meter freestyle relay.
Powerade 5K Grand Prix
In addition to a triathlon and biathlon, the Publix Family Fitness Weekend at Fort DeSoto on Aug. 17 also had a 5K.
Rae Ann Darling Reed, 35 of Bradenton, had the fastest time in the women's field with a 21:41. She was followed by Liz Sylves, 30 of St. Petersburg, in 21:46 and Yvette Feinberg, 42 of St. Pete Beach, in 21:48.
Local male age group winners included (15-19) Abraham Pineda, 17 of Belleair, in 27:47 and (30-34) Nathan Sylves, 32 of St. Petersburg, in 19:45. Local female age group winners also included Julide Burak, 47 of Seminole, 23:14 (45-49).
The Publix Family Fitness Weekend also drew a large crowd of open water enthusiasts.
Ted Bradley, 25 of St. Petersburg, was the fastest out of the water. He finished in 20:31. Other top finishers from St. Petersburg included Joshua Smith, 40, 25:27; Doug Miller, 35, 32:05; Catherine Bunch, 32, 34:48; Mary Brooke, 42, 42:57; and Shane Brooke, 15, 48:24.
On July 12, Patricia and Tom Hoffman of Palm Harbor traveled to Fort Lauderdale for another Publix Family Fitness event. Patricia finished first in her age group, 55-59, with a time of 1:19:18. Her husband, Tom, finished sixth in the 40-44 age group with a time of 1:03:17.
Also that day, Madeleine Zolfo, a 43-year-old from Treasure Island, was the fastest female at the E.L. Bing Beat the Heat 5K in Thonotasassa with a time of 19:12.
Tom Jensen, 45 of Clearwater, and Christine McDonald, 37 of Palm Harbor, placed second in their age groups with times of 2:21:54 and 2:26:36 at the Sixth Annual Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon on Sunday at Camp Blanding in Starke.
Get ready for Gasparilla
Tampa Bay Fit begins its training program Sunday for the Gasparilla full or half marathon. Runners can register Sunday or Sept. 7 at 7 a.m. at North Shore Park, 901 N Shore Drive NE. Come ready to run or walk. Go to www.tampabayfit.com or call (727) 499-7995 for more details.
Terry Tomalin can be reached at Tomalin@sptimes.com, or (727) 893-8808.