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St. Petersburg's Benton keeps a healthy distance in women's half-marathon

St. Petersburg’s Christa Benton crosses the finish line more than four minutes ahead of her nearest competitor at Sunday’s Half-Marathon in downtown St. Petersburg.


St. Petersburg’s Christa Benton crosses the finish line more than four minutes ahead of her nearest competitor at Sunday’s Half-Marathon in downtown St. Petersburg.

Christa Benton, 25 of St. Petersburg, outraced 2008 Olympic marathon runner Gabriela Traña and the rest of the field at Sunday's Women's Running magazine Women's Half-Marathon in downtown St. Petersburg.

Benton led wire-to-wire, finishing in 1:20:02, more than four minutes ahead of Traña. Palm Harbor's Tricia Brookover-Braun completed the 13.1-mile race in 1:26:03 to finish third.

St. Petersburg's Savannah Dearden was first in the 19 and under age group. She needed just 1:41:48 to outlast her nearest competitor by nearly six minutes.

In the 5K race, run simultaneously with the half-marathon, the following women won their age group: (19 and under) Courtney Condon, St. Petersburg, 23:17; (30-34) Christina Noordstar, Tierra Verde, 20:43; (45-49) Dee Gill, St. Petersburg, 26:18; (50-54) Laura Byne, Palm Harbor, 25:23; (55-59) Anna Knowles, St. Petersburg, 26:18; (70 and over) Dede Buckley, St. Petersburg, 31:22.

New Port Richey's Jacki Wachtel was the overall 5K winner in 18:27.

Swimming news: St. Pete Master's swimmer Jessica Knapp set a national record at the U.S. Masters Swimming 5K and 10K Postal National Championships.

Knapp's time of 2:15:56 in the women's 10K was the top mark in the 30-34 age group.

She teamed with Sarah Levine, Timothy Kennedy and Pat Marzulli in the 10K mixed relay to set a record (10:18:06.36) in the 18 and over age group.

Also finishing first were Knapp, Levine and Sarah Swoch (7:34:54.36) in the 18 and over women's 10K.

Levine finished first in the women's 10K 18-24 age group with a time of 2:33:33.

In the 70-74 age group, Konrad Euler (3:19:29) was first in the men's 10K.

Ironman 70.3 results: We inadvertently printed results from May's Ironman 70.3 race in Orlando instead of results from the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater (Nov. 13). The correct results are below.

Dustin Bengston, 33 of Palm Harbor, was the top Pinellas County triathlete at the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater. Bengston completed the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run in 4:30:56, putting him in 504th place out of 1,388 competitors.

Other local triathletes who qualified for and completed the race include: Robert Maue, Clearwater, 4:43:22; Jessica Koelsch, St. Petersburg, 4:44:53; Megan Swisher, Safety Harbor, 4:45:37; Sharon Beltrandelrio, Clearwater, 4:47:35; Matthew Thomas, Tierra Verde, 5:00:55; Clive Heke, St. Petersburg, 5:00:56; Bryan Prushinski, St. Petersburg, 5:01:41; David Weismantel, St. Petersburg, 5:07:26; Matthew Weidner, St. Petersburg, 5:08:14; Kevin Danielson, Oldsmar, 5:13:19; Marcos Alegre, Seminole, 5:21:58; Shannon Shearer, Largo, 5:23:06; Jonas Hedman, St. Petersburg, 5:24:17; Lewis Bennett, Largo, 5:27:11; Kasey Mueller, St. Petersburg, 5:30:04; Troy Ford, Oldsmar, 5:31:38; Frankie McDermond, Pinellas Park, 5:32:04; Charles Lohman, St. Petersburg, 5:36:35; Gail Lohman, St. Petersburg, 5:39:41; Keith Nelson, Treasure Island, 5:55:56; Kyle Moll, St. Petersburg, 5:57:30; David Schick, Clearwater, 6:16:08; Rick Wilson, Tarpon Springs, 6:21:03; John Goss, South Pasadena, 6:41:24; David Allbritton, Clearwater, 6:50:21; Louis Talarico, Belleair Beach, 7:45:55.

Triathletes earn the right to compete in the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship by qualifying at one of 31 Ironman 70.3 events.

Upcoming: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is hosting its 16th annual Ride and Run with the Stars on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Fort De Soto Park.

Races include a 25-mile bike ride, a 10K family bike ride and a 5K run with medals to the top age group finishers. All races start at 8 a.m.

Registration is $20 before the event and $25 the day of. Proceeds benefit the Sheriff's Christmas Sharing Project, which assists disadvantaged families through the holidays and year round.

The event also will feature a fun walk, silent auction, a kids bike rodeo, a climbing wall, food and special drawings. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by sheriff's helicopter at 10 a.m. To sign up, visit

upcoming events


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


• Times Turkey Trot, 10K, 5K and 1 mile, Clearwater H.S. Stadium, Clearwater. Contact Skip Rogers, (727) 442-5838.

• YMCA Tampa Gobble Run, 10K and 5K, 7:30 a.m., Al Lopez Park, Tampa. Call (813) 229-1305.


• Autumn Fest 5K, 7 p.m., Safety Harbor Marina. Contact Fred Rzymek, (727) 420-4666.

• Pilgrim Paddle, 9:15 a.m., relay-style stand-up paddleboard race for teams of two, Spa Beach, downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Visit


• Jingle Bell Run, 5K and 1 mile, 7:30 a.m., dog friendly, International Mall, Tampa. Call 1-800-672-0882 or

Dec. 5

Gaither Workout (for experienced bikers), 7:45 a.m., behind Lifestyle Family Fitness in Northdale, Tampa. Contact Richard Johnson (813) 238-2464,

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

• 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,

Dec. 6

Brandon half-marathon, 7 a.m., Brandon. Call (813) 684-0224, ext. 212.

Dec. 9

• Boley's Jingle Bell Run, 3 miles, 7:30 p.m., Clearwater. Contact Karen Juarez (727) 821-4819, ext. 5200.

Send information on upcoming events to

St. Petersburg's Benton keeps a healthy distance in women's half-marathon 11/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 3:30am]
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