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Race for Cure 10K winner cruises past competition

win from the heart: Christa Benton scorches the field at the Lipham Keswick Classic 5K on Saturday at Taylor Park. The race is named for Benton’s former coach, Lance Lipham.

Special to the Times

win from the heart: Christa Benton scorches the field at the Lipham Keswick Classic 5K on Saturday at Taylor Park. The race is named for Benton’s former coach, Lance Lipham.

St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park hosted the Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure 10K and 5K on Saturday, and a number of local runners turned in strong performances.

Melanie Peters, 26 of St. Petersburg, surged ahead of the pack in the 10K competition to win by more than five minutes with a time of 38:14. Clearwater's Amanda Shike was second after crossing the finish line in 43:17.

Other top 10 female finishers for the 10K include: Whitney Lasseter (fourth), Palm Harbor, 44:46; Katie Carter (sixth), Largo, 45:26; Leslie Beauchamp (seventh), St. Petersburg, 45:33; Christine Simpson (ninth), St. Petersburg, 46:41; Elizabeth Samuelson (10th), St. Petersburg, 46:51.

Mark Benjamin, 21 of Kenneth City, was the top local finisher in the men's 10K after placing second in a time of 34:56, 20 seconds off the first-place pace of Bradenton's Michael Lamp (34:36). St. Petersburg's Greg Doherty (37:19) was fourth, Tierra Verde's Matthew Thomas (37:42) fifth, St. Petersburg's Andrew Chandler (38:34) seventh and Clearwater's James Russell (40:04) ninth.

Also placing first in their division were (female survivor, grandmasters survivor) Laura Byne, Palm Harbor, 52:50; (female masters) Christine Simpson, St. Petersburg, 46:41; (female masters survivor) Becky Hoyt, Largo, 54:11 and (female grandmasters) Debra Donald, St. Petersburg, 47:39.

In the 5K, St. Petersburg's Amy McClenathan came across the line in 20:25 to take second among female racers. New Port Richey's Jacki Wachtel (20:11) was the female champion.

Top 10 female finishers from Pinellas include: Elaine Nicholson (third), St. Petersburg, 20:53; Kelly Richards (fifth), Clearwater, 21:09; Connie Mendoza (sixth), St. Petersburg, 21:26; Colleen McLaughlin (eighth), Clearwater, 22:29; Patricia Farese (ninth), St. Petersburg, 22:52.

Jonathan Cleary, 21 of St. Petersburg, was the top male 5K runner after taking third in a time of 18:57. Pinellas Park's Blake Arnold (19:02) was fifth, St. Petersburg's Andrew Crabb (19:27) seventh and Brian Lester (19:46), also of St. Petersburg, came in ninth.

John Biffar of Cape Coral was the overall champion by a wide margin after completing the 5K in 16:13.

First-place finishers per division: (male grandmasters) Brian Lester, St. Petersburg, 19:46; (female survivor, grandmasters survivor) Pila Cadena, St. Petersburg, 23:42 and (female masters, grandmasters) McClenathan.

Benton honors former coach with victory: Christa Benton, 25 of St. Petersburg, was the overall champion at the Lipham Keswick Classic 5K on Saturday after bolting to the finish line in 17:39.

The race is named after former Keswick Christian cross country and track coach Lance Lipham, who died in August 2008 of pancreatic cancer at age 57. Benton was one of Lipham's star runners at Keswick and won three straight high school state cross country titles (1998-2000) and two state track and field titles in the 3,200-meter run (1998, 2000) under Lipham's tutelage.

Other champions at the Lipham Keswick Classic 5K were Anders Heidemann (first overall male, 19:35) and Sheial Kalteux (masters overall female, 26:51).

Gator 5K run: Matt Adkins, 19 of St. Petersburg, took first place overall among a field of 192 at the Gator 5K Run on Saturday at Tampa's Al Lopez Park.

Adkins crossed the finish line in 16:31 to win comfortably. Tampa's Jon Noland (16:47) came in second.

St. Petersburg's Albert Wieringa (19:01) placed eighth and Treasure Island's Hunter McCann (19:47) 10th among male competitors.

In the women's competition, Mary Ann Protz, 53 of St. Petersburg, stayed within striking distance of Tampa's Karen Collins but couldn't narrow the gap by the finish line. Collins grabbed first place in a time of 19:20; Protz was second in 19:54.

Seminole's Brittany Cross placed third after finishing in 20:52, Safety Harbor's Mary Margaret Mason (22:26) was eighth.

Among Pinellas runners, the following were age group winners: (M11-14) McCann; (F11-14) Mason; (F15-19) Cross; (M45-49) Tom Hoffman, Palm Harbor, 21:21; (F50-54) Protz; (F55-59) Patricia Hoffman, Palm Harbor, 28:19; (M60-64) Wieringa; (M65-69) James Ladig, Clearwater, 24:11; (F70-74) Mollie-Rae Jerman, St. Petersburg, 35:23.

Flying Fish Time Trial results: The Flying Fish Time Trial series from Fort De Soto Park concluded Thursday with the final of seven races. Alan Badia, 45, set a course record with a time of 19:49 to win his fifth race of the series in five tries.

Badia concluded the series as the top 40- to 49-year-old male. Other age group winners were Sean Mather (junior), Tito Vallejo (male 19-29), Chris Pyhel (30-39), Jeffrey Mather (50-59), Reece Jones (60+), Michael Weimar (fixed gear) and Patrick Ellison (Merckx).

Among a limited group of female cyclists, Karen Monkus edged Patricia Hoffman by five points to claim first place for the series. Hoffman was second, and Whitney Lasseter came in third.

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. Contact Richard Johnson (813) 238-2464,

• John Holmes 50K Trail Run, 16 miles Fun Run, 7 a.m., Withlacoochee State. Brooksville. Contact Jim Bodoh (813) 884-1862.

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

• Police Memorial Run, 5K, 8 a.m., Downtown, Tampa. Call (813) 276-3258.

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

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


• Aces of Hearts, 15K and 5K, 7:30 a.m., Del Oro Grove Park, Clearwater. Contact American Running Company. (727) 736-8232.

• Share the Road Bike Rides, 5, 10, 15 and 20 miles, North Straub Park, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 582-1910.

Oct. 17

• Spartan Challenge 5K, 8 a.m., University of Tampa. Call (813) 257-3582,

Oct. 18

Longleaf Triathlon, 8 a.m., New Port Richey. Contact (727) 847-2424,

Send any information on upcoming events to

Race for Cure 10K winner cruises past competition 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 4:30am]
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