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Hundreds race in Armadillo Run

Clear skies and low humidity greeted some 700 runners for the 15th annual Armadillo Run on Saturday.

The run is one of the centerpiece activities in Oldsmar's biggest event of the year, the four-day Oldsmar Days festival.

Training partners Jeff Delie and Andy Scavelli of Palm Harbor ran the first mile of the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) stride-for-stride as they approached the scenic course along Bayshore Drive.

Delie, 40, pulled away during the third mile to win. Scavelli, 34, a teammate of Delie's with the Forerunners club of St. Petersburg, took second and Terry Fluke of St. Petersburg finished third.

"My strategy was to run an even pace today," Delie said, "but I didn't think I could because of the head wind going out to the turn-around point. This race tells me I've still got some work to do to get ready for next month's Boston Marathon. I hope to run under 2 hours, 40 minutes there this time."

There was a temporary mix-up in determining the women's winner because the 10th place finisher, a man, had checked "female" on his finish card.

The corrected version of the results elevated Lisa Kothe of Clearwater into first place. She finished 13th overall in a field of 350 men and women. Loretta Simeon of Tampa and Erin Russell of Clearwater finished second and third, respectively.

Faye Adler of Palm Harbor rallied in the masters division (ages 40 and over), holding off Tampa Bay Downs veterinarian Roz Randall for first-place honors.

The accompanying 5K race drew 300 runners and turned out to be a battle between Greg Fiess of Clearwater and two Florida Southern College runners, Gabe Malley and Hennie Schoeman. Fiess prevailed.

The women's 5K was a close race between two veteran runners, Cathy Gruber, 45, of Indian Rocks Beach and Carol Fox, 46, of Tampa. Gruber won by 9 seconds.

Mike Pusatera of the Oldsmar/East Lake Rotary Club, which put on the races, was on hand with 28 club members to ensure everything came off smoothly.

"It's a lot of work but a lot of fun," he said. "It's a labor of love that raises about $10,000 for community projects."

The Oldsmar Days festival, now in its 35th year, started Thursday with a carnival at R. E. Olds Park on Tampa Bay. It continued Friday with Country and Western Night, plus line dancing instruction and carnival rides in the park.

After the races ended Saturday, the Oldsmar Days Parade was scheduled to leave from the Oldsmar Civic Club on St. Petersburg Drive. The parade has about 50 entries this year.

Residents who were surveyed after last year's Oldsmar Days said they wanted more activities for families, so organizers responded this year with more rides, lots of music and plenty of food.

Festivities continue in Olds Park today, beginning at noon with a performance by the Community Holiness Choir, back by popular demand after their performance last year.

After that, three other groups are scheduled to perform. The Gumbi Band plays a variety of music, from Afro-Cuban music to rock. Jazz vocalists Fred Johnson and Theo Valentin will perform later in the afternoon. All three acts will join for a jam session at 6 p.m. to close the festival.

There is no admission fee to the festival, but there is a charge for carnival rides and food.

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