When word got around that Steve Brace, a member of the British Olympic team and a 2:10 marathoner, was on the starting line for the Night Lights 5K in Ybor City, the question was: Who would get second?
Mazano Muchapiwa, a product of the University of South Florida distance clique, answered that riddle by hanging with the Welshman through splits of 4:33 and 9:20 before bolting the last half mile to win in a very fast, considering the weather, 14:34. Brace finished second in 14:44.
"I've been training a lot of miles and racing all over the United States," said Muchapiwa, a native of Zimbabwe. "I had tickets to go to Tennessee to race, but I chose this race because last year I did not do so well."
Muchapiwa was second in '95 to fellow USF alumni Jon Dennis. Muchapiwa recently finished 11th in a major road race in Iowa, losing to a pack of Kenyans but running 8K in 22:45.
Bob Malseed of USF came in third in 14:56 in the Night Lights 5K, a race sponsored by the Tampa AIDS Network. Dror Vaknin of Tampa placed fourth in 15:02, and Lecanto High runner Sean McManus held off Scott Green of Tampa for fifth, 15:41 to 15:43.
Lisa Kothe of Clearwater and Gail Pennachio of New Port Richey battled for two miles through splits of 5:40 and 11:41 before Kothe got away to win in 18:16. Pennachio held on for second in 18:30.
"I warmed down with her after the race and she told me summer is really not her season," said Pennachio of Kothe. "She does no intervals and only races once a month. She says she wants to enjoy herself."
Kathy Kayce of St. Petersburg and Christine McDermott placed third and fourth respectively. No times were available. Carol Hollenback of St. Petersburg rounded out the top five in 19:33.
More than 1,400 runners participated and the race raised $50,000 for services, counseling, prevention, and education to benefit persons with AIDS or HIV. Winners Muchapiwa and Kothe received air fare and accommodations for three days and two nights in Key West.