Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Michigan runners lower Gasparilla Distance Classic 8K course mark

Two runners from the Hansons-Brooks running program rolled into Tampa on Sunday and rewrote the record book in the Gasparilla Distance Classic 8K road race.

Robert Curtis, a 28-year-old who ran for Villanova in college, set a course record of 23 minutes, 30 seconds, covering the 4.97-mile course at a pace of 4:43 per mile.

His colleague on the Michigan-based track team, 23-year-old Dustin Emerick, finished second in 24:28, which was more than two minutes faster than the record of 26:42 set by Oscar Orozco in 2012.

"We have been training in Orlando," Curtis said. "So we saw this race as an opportunity to put in a good, hard effort."

Stephanie McGrail, a 26-year-old from Gainesville, won the women's 8K in 32:07. She was followed by Bradenton's Rae Ann Darling Reed, 39, in 34:00.

Up for the challenge: Tampa's Matthew Farrell wasn't satisfied with running Saturday's 15K. He ran all four Gasparilla Distance Classic races over the weekend to be crowned the Michelob Ultra Challenge champion with a combined time of 3 hours, 14 minutes, 18 seconds. The 32-year-old ran the 5K in 18:20; the 8K in 32:54; the 15K in 57:01 and the half marathon in 1:26:03.Kristine Claffie of Lithia was the women's champion (3:30:42). The 37-year-old ran the 5K in 20:55; the 8K in 35:11; the 15K in 1:02:55 and the half marathon in 1:31:41.

The Beck's Light Challenge winner ran three races. Michael Rivera, 25, of Nicaragua, had a combined time of 2:44:34. He ran the 5K in 18:51; the 15K in 1:00:00 and the half marathon in 1:25:43. The women's Beck Light champion was Jacki Wachtel, 33, of New Port Richey. She ran the 5K in 19:05; the 15K in 56:49 and the half marathon in 1:27:30 for a combined 2:43:24.

Tampa's Jeff Lessie, 52, won the Bud Select Mini Challenge (8K and 15K) with a combined time of 1:27:54 (30:14 and 57:40). Beth Grimes, 46, from North Attleboro, Mass., won the women's division with a combined time of 1:45:01 (36:01 and 1:09:00).

Setting the pace: Women's half marathon record holder Jessica Crate was back on the course again this year, but she was not looking to win any awards.

"This year it is all about giving back," said Crate, a 27-year-old from Melbourne. "I am out here to pace other runners."

Crate, who ran the Gasparilla's fastest marathon two years ago (1:20:06), hopes to make it to the 2016 Olympics, but for now she is happy just to help other runners set personal records.

A coach, nutritionist and sports marketer, Crate led runners through all four events over the race weekend.

"Pacing is a privilege and responsibility," she said. "Helping somebody else do well is one way we can all advance the sport."

She recently formed a not-for-profit organization, Giving Athletics Inc., that will help like-minded runners promote follow her lead. Learn more at

"I'll be back racing again next year," she said. "So get ready for a showdown in 2014."

Michigan runners lower Gasparilla Distance Classic 8K course mark 02/24/13 [Last modified: Sunday, February 24, 2013 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan


    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said


    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.


    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]