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Tampa runners top field at Bay to Bay 12K

AFLAC IRON GIRL: Sharon Beltrandelrio, who will be participating in this year’s event April 5, won the USA Triathlon Sprint National Championship in 2007 and finished fourth in her age group at the 2007 Ford Ironman 70.3 Florida and the 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3.

Times (2005)

AFLAC IRON GIRL: Sharon Beltrandelrio, who will be participating in this year’s event April 5, won the USA Triathlon Sprint National Championship in 2007 and finished fourth in her age group at the 2007 Ford Ironman 70.3 Florida and the 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3.

Experience overcame youth at Sunday's Bay to Bay 12K when 40-year-old Dror Vaknin set a blistering 5:18 pace to edge 27-year-old Lee Stephens.

Vaknin of Tampa set a course record of 39:26, beating the old mark by 21 seconds. He was just one of more than 1,800 who turned out for what has become one of the largest competitive running events in the Tampa Bay area.

Tampa runners grabbed the top three overall spots. Stephens, the second-place finisher and winner of the first three Bay to Bays, had an official time of 39:45, followed by 41-year-old Robert Skaggs (42:18).

In the women's ranks, 24-year-old Christa Benton of St. Petersburg took first with a time of 43:08. Benton, who ran for Keswick Christian and USF, beat Gainesville resident and two-time Boston Marathon winner Olga Morkova by 48 seconds. St. Petersburg resident Melanie Peters, 24, finished third in 44:48.

In the masters' ranks, 44-year-old Karen Collins of Tampa finished first among women in 49:56; Jeff Lassie, a 47-year-old from Tampa, came in with a time of 45:36.

In the highly competitive male youth age group of 10 to 14, St. Petersburg's Cameron Wheeler, 14, finished first in 51:04, followed by Hunter McCann, 11, in 58:42 and Tampa's Ricky Mills, 14, in 1:01:04. Amanda Puckett, 13, of Treasure Island was the top girl with a time of 1:19:26, followed by Jessica Atkinson, 12, of Indian Rocks Beach in 1:24:21 and Tampa's Dakota Dusold, 13, with a time of 1:27:57.

In the 5K, Christian Homme, 18, finished first in 16:03, followed by John Kelly, 47, in 16:33 and Michael Lamb, 18, in 16:35. Bree Maier, 30, was the top 5K female with a time of 19:24.

More running

Entries are coming in for the Aflac Iron Girl series that kicks off April 5 in Clearwater Beach.

With 10K and 5K runs, this race should attract some of the state's fastest women. Entrants include Clearwater's Sharon Beltrandelrio, the first female overall in the 2007 USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships. Beltrandelrio also finished fourth in her age group (35-39) at the 2007 Ford Ironman 70.3 Florida and 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3.

Other entrants include St. Petersburg's Melanie Peters, who won the 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon and 2008 Gasparilla Distance Classic Marathon, and Tampa's Niki Miller, third overall in the 2007 RYKA Iron Girl Clearwater 10K/5K Run/Walk (5K, 21:29).

Swimming

Dust off your goggles, all you open-water swimmers. The Clearwater Beach Patrol Ocean Mile Swim Series has released its schedule for 2008: Race No. 1, May 17; Race No. 2, June 21; Race No. 3, July 19.

This will be the seventh year for this highly competitive event, which pits the best men and women against the fickle waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Defending champion and multiple winner Ashley Rossi, 16, will be back to defend her title. Rossi, the daughter of veteran ocean lifeguard and Pasco County educator Tony Rossi, is also an accomplished swimmer for the Clearwater Aquatic Team.

For information contact Joe Lain at joe.lain@myclearwater.com or call (727)462-6963.

To register online, go to www.myclearwater.com and select Marine & Aviation in the "Browse City Departments" menu, or head to active.com.

Athlete update

Beth McCubbin, a 2005 Palm Harbor University graduate, won a national championship March 8 at the 2008 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Indoor Track and Field Championships in Johnson City, Tenn.

McCubbin, a 20-year-old from Ozona, won the 1,000 meters in 2:54:28, two seconds faster than her closest competitor. She is a junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, where she majors in engineering physics.

Walking

The North Pinellas Branch of the YMCA of the Suncoast will hold Walk in the Park, a weekly Nordic walking class at John Chesnut Sr. Park, 2200 East Lake Road in Palm Harbor.

Weather permitting, classes will meet Saturday mornings at Shelter No. 1 at 8:45 a.m., with the walk beginning at 9. Nordic walking poles are provided, with instruction. This class is appropriate for all ages and abilities.

For more information, contact wellness director Leslie Stallings at (727) 772-9622 or lstallings@suncoastymca.org.

Terry Tomalin can be reached at tomalin@sptimes.com, or by calling (727) 893-8808. Send your swimming, biking, running, triathlon and adventure racing information to community.tampabay.com and click on the "Submit info" link.

Tampa runners top field at Bay to Bay 12K 03/18/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 10:21am]
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