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Running: Vaknin outlasts Stephens at Bay to Bay 12K

ST. PETERSBURG — A familiar face cut short Lee Stephens' bid for a fourth straight win Sunday in the Bay to Bay 12K.

Dror Vaknin, a cross country assistant when Stephens was at USF, pulled away 21/2 miles in and won in 39:26, 19 seconds ahead of the Tampa resident.

"I feel good. This is the first real race I've done since Gasparilla," said Vaknin, 40, now an assistant at Tampa who finished sixth at that 15K last month. "I'm happy."

Vaknin and Stephens, 27, jumped to the lead from the start with Stephens drafting behind. However, when the Tampa resident made his move, Stephens couldn't keep pace.

"He typically always beat me when I was in college, and then when I got out of college, I started beating him pretty consistently," said Stephens, who won the first three Bay to Bay 12Ks. "He's gotten fast again. I haven't beaten him in a while."

St. Petersburg's Christa Benton, 24, won her third women's 12K in 43:09, 15 seconds ahead of two-time Boston Marathon champion Olga Markova.

"I grew up here," said Benton, who ran for Keswick Christian and USF. "It's a fun race to be able to run on the roads instead of driving on them."

Seminole's Christian Homme, 18, (16:03) and Sarasota's Bree Maier, 30, (19:24) won the 5Ks.

Results, 5C

Running: Vaknin outlasts Stephens at Bay to Bay 12K 03/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2008 11:44pm]
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