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Pinellas runners feel right at home in top spots

Logan Trimble, here during a cross country meet last year with Jesuit High School, finished in the top 10 at a Labor Day 5K.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR | Special to the Times

Logan Trimble, here during a cross country meet last year with Jesuit High School, finished in the top 10 at a Labor Day 5K.

It was a slow week on the local road racing scene, which was a good thing considering there was a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

But a few local runners did get a chance to shine.

In the sixth installment of Tampa's Take the First Step Summer Series, Pinellas County runners captured six of the top 10 spots.

Kenneth City's 19-year-old speed demons, Mark and Brian Benjamin, placed first and second, Mark with a time of 17:14, and Brian not far behind with a 17:47.

Forerunners coach Joe Burgasser, who is 50 years older than the Benjamins but nearly as fast, came in fourth overall with a 19:28.

Rounding out the top 10 were Steve Ballew, 48 of Largo, in fifth place with a 20:12. Chuck Stephens, 42 of St. Petersburg, finished ninth overall with a time of 22:18 followed by Jared Ballew, 13 of Largo, in 10th with a 22:31. Thom Holloway, 60 of Seminole, finished 29th with a 35:53.

In the women's field, Elisa Ballew, 45 of Largo, ran a 24:50, good for sixth overall. She was followed by: Phoy Holt, 33 of St. Petersburg, in 15th, 34:07; Heather Ludtke, 25 of Clearwater, in 19th, 35:48; and Lyndy Jennings, 32 of St. Petersburg, 21st, 39:06.

Red Mule Run

Local runners traveled north to Brooksville on Saturday for the Red Mule Runners Labor Day 5K. More than 350 participated and two young Pinellas County residents finished in the top 10.

Logan Trimble of Clearwater placed eighth overall with a time of 16:51. The 17-year-old had an average pace of 5:26 a mile. Tyler Greathouse of Palm Harbor finished hot on his heels with a time of 16:56. The 16-year-old finished 10th overall, maintaining a pace of 5:28.

Other Pinellas County standouts included the following top age group finishers:

In male 13 and under, J.B. Cline, a 13-year-old from St. Petersburg, ran a 22.52, finishing second in his age group. Reed Miller, 13 of St. Petersburg, came in fifth with a 25:45.

In the women's ranks, Gillian Cline, 11 of St. Petersburg, finished 10th in the 13 and under with a time of 35:14. Among the 14- to 16-year-olds, Jessie Greathouse, 14 of Palm Harbor, finished 23rd with a time of 24:28. In the 40 to 44 age group, Dawn Cline, 43 of St. Petersburg, finished fourth with a 30:20.

Croom Crusher

Are you a triathlete looking for a challenge? Consider the Croom Crusher/Crumbler Adventure Races on Sept. 27 in Withlacoochee State Forest.

Organizers promise another great course this year, but what it will be is anybody's guess. Count on trail running, mountain biking, canoe/kayaking and plenty of overland navigation, so brush up on those map and compass skills.

This year's Crusher will have a "modified rogaine format." If you are not sure what that means, join the club. Kip and Jessica Koelsch, the couple behind WeCeFar, the Tampa Bay area's pre-eminent adventure racing club, said it means "more opportunities for fun, challenge and adventure."

Tips will be posted on the club's message board. But first you have to register at

Stair climb

So you think you have mastered the Stairmaster? Here's your chance to prove it. On Saturday, Sept. 13 in downtown St. Petersburg, you will get a chance to climb the Bank of America Tower.

The event, called "One Step Closer," is designed to raise money for ovarian cancer research. Sponsored by the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation, this first-time event should draw a large crowd.

Mastry, the matriarch of the large Mastry family, was known for her philanthropic work. In the past five years the Celma Mastry Foundation has raised more than $160,000 for cancer research and provided nearly $100,000 of financial assistance to patients.

Participants will be asked to get a contribution for each stair or flight of stairs climbed. Wondering how tall the tower is? It is 26 floors, or 400 steps, which will take the average person about 20 minutes to climb.

For registration information, go to

New coach

The Clearwater Aquatic Team has a new coach, Randy Reese, from Longhorn Aquatics at the University of Texas at Austin. Reese started his career in Clearwater and has since coached more than 60 Olympians who have brought home 35 medals, including 18 golds.

For more information on the team, go to or call (727) 791-9542.

Terry Tomalin can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8808.


Upcoming events


• Gaither workout (for experienced bikers), 7:45 a.m., behind Gaither High School. Call Richard Johnson at (813) 238-2464 or visit

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

• Stanley breakfast ride, 7:45 a.m., Seffner Elementary, 109 Cactus Road, Seffner. Contact Terry Farrell at (813) 684-3503 or [email protected] or visit

• Sunrise Run, 5K and 1 mile, 7 a.m., North Straub Park, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 822-7475 or visit

• 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 at (727) 644-7702 or visit


• Progressive training team, track workouts, 6:30 p.m., Coleman Elementary, Tampa. Contact Dror Vaknin at (813) 846-5021 or [email protected]

Sept. 14

Ace of Clubs, 4.4-miler, 10K, 15K, half-marathon, 7:30 a.m., Del Oro Park, Clearwater. Call (727) 736-8232.

Pinellas runners feel right at home in top spots 09/02/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 4:31am]
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