TAMPA — Joshua Prevatt competed in all four events at this weekend's Gasparilla Distance Classic.
The final race turned out to be his strongest effort of all.
Prevatt, a 2002 graduate of Riverview High and a resident of Brandon, claimed the championship in the first-ever 8K at the Gasparilla Distance Classic after crossing the finish line in 28 minutes, 6 seconds.
About three hours before the 8K, Prevatt, 26, placed seventh in the 13.1-mile half-marathon.
"I felt really good for the half," Prevatt said. "I was only 40 seconds off a personal record."
Prevatt carried over his pace from the half-marathon into the 4.97-mile event. He and second-place 8K finisher Anthony Calingo, who also competed in all four Gasparilla Distance Classic races, broke to the head of the pack from the start. About a quarter-mile into the race, Prevatt charged ahead of Calingo.
"I figured I might as well go for it," he said. "It was my last race."
Prevatt made it to the finish 34 seconds ahead of Calingo, a 27-year-old Tampa resident.
"I never looked back at the finish," Prevatt said. "I just thought, 'If he catches me, he catches me.' There was nothing I could do at that point."
Scott Lafferty of Valrico came in third in 29:15.
Women's 8K champion Brianne Gaal of Cary, N.C., was in a lead pack of five runners for the first mile of the race before catching up to leader Christina Noordstar by Mile 2.
In the third mile, Gaal made her charge, leaving the field in her wake.
"One of my friends, Christina, was leading, and I caught her about Mile 2," Gaal said. "So I ran with her for a mile, and then I told her I was going to pick it up. I was hoping she would come with me."
Gaal, 31, won in 32:34. Rae Ann Darling Reed of Bradenton took second place, 52 seconds behind Gaal in 33:26. Noordstar was third in 33:57.
Gaal, who is a native of St. Petersburg and attended St. Petersburg High as well as UCF, said she felt very comfortable running the unusual 8K distance.
"I like the 8K because the 5K is so short, you really have to have good sprint speed, good turnover to do a really fast 5K," Gaal said. "The 10K is really hard, you've got to have some good pace, endurance. The 8K is sort of a nice compromise between the two."