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Hundreds turn out for Suncoast Classic

Joe Palmer (wearing 810) competes in December’s Gulf Beaches Halfathon.  (Photo credit:  )

Courtesy of Joe Palmer

Joe Palmer (wearing 810) competes in December’s Gulf Beaches Halfathon. (Photo credit: )

Nearly 800 runners ran the streets of downtown Saturday as part of the Suncoast Classic 10K and 5K races to benefit the Pediatric Services of Florida.

Ryan Woods of Boone, N.C., turned in the fastest 10K time with a 32:17. Brian Scott of Largo was the fastest local runner with a 34:57, good for eighth overall.

Hot on his heels was Matthew Thomas of Tierra Verde in 34:57. St. Petersburg's Christa Benton was the fastest woman in 35.50.

In the 5K, Tampa's Lee Stephens was first across the finish line in 16:03. Top local finishers included St. Petersburg's Cameron Wheeler fifth overall in 17:56. Paul Graus, also of St. Petersburg, finished ninth in 19:15.

Piece of Cake Run

On the other side of the bay Jason Swierk, 37 of Safety Harbor, finished fifth in this 5K with a 22:14. Nick Kopteros, 29 of Tarpon Springs, was 12th with a 25:28. Scott Chambers, 36 of St. Petersburg, rounded out the field in 22nd with a 29:19.

In the women's ranks, local women also did well: (fifth) Heather Widell, 25 of St. Petersburg, 25:46; (10th) Sara Swierk, 34 of Safety Harbor, 28:51; (12th) Patricia Bunce, 53 of Clearwater, 29:33; (19th) Vanessa Gonzalez, 24 of Clearwater, 34:04; (21st) Joy Myer, 56 of Clearwater, 35:45; (23rd) Natalie Chandlee, 28 of St. Petersburg, 36:20; (26th) Tricia Bever, 61 of Clearwater, 40:21.

Road Runners

Joe Palmer of Palm Harbor placed second in last week's Melbourne Beaches Music Marathon with a personal record of 2:59:39.

Palmer's goal was to break three hours for the first time and get a tuneup marathon under his belt before Boston, but the 35-year-old was pleasantly surprised to find himself third at the halfway point.

He managed to move up to second despite a course that was tougher than anticipated due to four significant bridge crossings.

Other top local male finishers: (25-29) Adriel Gonzalez, 26 of Pinellas Park, 3:56:39; (50-54) John Voorhis, 54 of St. Petersburg, 3:47:11.

Step up Florida

On Saturday, Feb. 21, approximately 100 cyclists will pedal from Pinellas to Pasco to encourage people to get out and ride.

The group will leave at 8:30 a.m. from Chainwheel Drive at U.S. 19 and Tampa Road and ride to Bike Lane Bike Shop of Pasco County on Little Road. The ride is sponsored by Suncoast Cycling Club and Bike Lane Bike Shop. Contact Chris or Larry Viens at (727) 819-2700.

Scrub Jay Run

A group of local runners traveled to Sarasota County recently to run the trails of Oscar Scherer State Park for the annual Scrub Jay 5K. Maryann Grande, 47, of St. Petersburg, finished second in the 45-49 age group with a 23:51.

Other top finishers included Albert Wieringa, 62 of St. Petersburg, 20:15; Dan McClenathan, 59 of St. Petersburg, 22:49; Steve Grande, 54 of St. Petersburg, 23:15.


The PYP Piranhas Swim Team of the Palm Harbor YMCA captured second place last week at the 2009 YMCA state championship.

First-place finishers included: Kelsey Buckley, 15-18 girls, 100 free; Justin Chambers, 15-18 boys, 200 free; Rachael Freeman, 11-12 girls, 500 free; Sarah Freeman, 11-12 girls, 50 free, 100 free, 200 free; Megan Kovac, 11-12 girls, 50 breast and 1,650 free; Devin McCaffrey, 13-14 boys, 50 free, 100 breast, 200 breast, 100 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM; Lauren McIntosh, 10&U girls, 50 back, 50 free, 50 breast; Tristan Sanders, 11-12 boys, 50 back, 100 back, 100 fly, 100 IM; Katie Torres, 15-18 girls, 100 fly.

upcoming events


• Progressive training team, track workouts, 6:30 p.m., University of Tampa Track, Tampa. Contact Dror Vaknin (813) 846-5021,


• Gaither workout (for experienced bikers), 7:45 a.m., behind Lifestyle Family Fitness in Northdale, Tampa. Call Richard Johnson (813) 238-2464 or visit

• Marathon training, various group runs, 5:30 a.m., Downtown YMCA, Tampa. Contact Fred Vasconi (813) 222-1334,

• Run Your Heart Out, 5K and 1 mile, 7:30 a.m., Countryside, Clearwater. Call Kellie Taylor (727) 796-1333.

• Stanley Breakfast Ride, 7:45 a.m., Seffner Elementary, 109 Cactus Road, Seffner. Contact Terry Farrell (813)684-3503, or visit

• Trevor Miller's Mob 5K, 5K and 1 mile, 8 a.m., Island of Capri, Treasure Island. Call Pamela McCann (727) 960-6286.

• West Florida "Y" Runners Club, 6 a.m. at City Hall Plaza in Clearwater, 7 a.m. at John Chesnut Park in Palm Harbor. Call Michael Weiss (727) 644-7702,


• Flatwoods Four, 4 miles, North Tampa. Visit or call (813) 232-5200.

Feb. 28

• Chasco Challenge, run, walk, bike, 8 a.m., J.B. Starkey Park, New Port Richey. Call John Greco (888) 496-8004.

• Gasparilla Distance Classic, 15K and 5K, 7:15 a.m., downtown Tampa. Call (813) 254-7866.

March 1

Gasparilla Marathon, 13.1 miles relays, 6 a.m., downtown Tampa. Call (813) 254-7866 or visit

Send information on upcoming events to

Hundreds turn out for Suncoast Classic 02/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:30am]
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