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Salamone 5K turns into a fast race

Last Friday night, a tuxedoed Tony Salomone stood out in a light rain and directed 1,500 runners through a fast romp around Hunter's Green. The race, the Mike Salamone 5K Memorial, was held for the second year as a memorial for Tony Salamone's father, who died of cancer in April of 1988. "After his death, I needed something to do to keep busy," said Salamone. "Putting on this race is a lot of work, but I feel good about it because the proceeds go to cancer research. Maybe soon they will find a cure."x The 5K race turned out to be more competitive than some runners anticipated. Former University of Kentucky runner Russell Nally took the field through a first mile in 4:50 before easing away from Todd Evans and Greg Harger for a smooth win in 15:30. "I'm only running about 30 miles a week," said Nally in a musical Kentucky drawl. "I'm living down on Bayshore in South Tampa and it sure is flat down here, not a lot of hills to run on like in Lexington."

Nally has to his credit an SEC indoor 1,000-meter championship and has posted times of 3:44 for 1,500 meters and 1:49 for the 800. With those credentials, if he chooses to increase his mileage and train seriously, he will certainly enliven the Tampa running scene.

Third-place finisher Greg Harger is serious. The downtown YMCA director is making a comeback after two years of injury. "I needed this race," he said.

Harger's time was 15:47. "I know now that I need to run about a minute faster before I feel respectable again." Harger coaches a group of runners who meet and run out of the Y. "Seeing other runners do well in their first 5K or marathon is what keeps me going. I love to watch the expression of success."

Olympic hopeful Luis Urteaga of Lima, Peru sees the 5K as only one-fifth of his concern for his event, the modern pentathlon. The modern pentathlon consists of running, swimming, fencing, shooting and horseback riding. Urteaga, who lives and trains in Orlando, took fifth overall in 16:00.

"I think of running as my best event," said the muscular Peruvian Air Force captain. "My sport is a test to see who is the best soldier, and a soldier must be able to run." George Patton _ evenutally Gen. George Patton _ represented the U.S. in the pentathlon in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

In the women's division, Loretta Simeon caught USF coach Judy Bogenschutz with a half-mile remaining and burned away for a 15 second win in 17:37. "I was running as hard as I could, but I guess she was fitter," said Bogenschutz.

"I felt great," said Simeon. "I've been out of town for awhile, but I've been doing two-a-day workouts." Simeon works at Bertha's Nutrition Shoppe, the grandmother of health food stores in Tampa.

For 30 years, Bertha's was a fixture on Franklin Street, a fragrant haven of freshly squeezed vegetable juices, located in the middle of what was then a mass of pawn shops and skid-row bars.

"I just came out to have a good time," said John Docs, who placed 14th overall in 16:47 and is a disc jockey at Club 911. "I ran in a track meet on Tuesday, so I look at this as just a warmup for the Ramones concert (last Friday night).

Masters winner Barry Holcomb has been afflicted with a case of the blahs for the past year. "I've been feeling like racing is more of a job than an enjoyment," said the 40-plus-year-old mail carrier. "Every weekend I would say to myself, "Well, what race do I have to do now.' I was starting to get burned out, so I took some time off from racing and just learned to enjoy running long again. I felt good tonight." Holcomb's time was 16:40.

Tony Salomone would like to keep the race an annual event on the first Friday in June. "The people at Hunter's Green were great. We had a lot bigger turnout than I expected, even though it rained and there were some problems with parking. If we can get a sponsor to help out, I feel this race can be a really great charity event."

Roberts ranked. The only Tampa-based distance runner to be ranked in Track and Field News this year is Gaither track coach Rachelle Roberts. Her 1,500-meter time of 4:21.1 ranked her 8th among the top 12 women in the U.S. Friday, she travels to New York City to compete in the TAC Nationals in the 1,500. Last Saturday, Roberts took third in the Kings Street Mile in Charleston, S.C. with a time of 4:41. Robert's tune-up race netted her $500.