Racing in wet shoes, Tony Teats of Oldsmar broke away at Saturday's Warhoop Sprint 5-kilometer race to win in 15 minutes, 28 seconds.
Kevin Lyons of Palm Harbor followed in second place with a time of 16:57.
Keswick Christian senior Christa Benton, 16, showed the form that makes her the defending Class A cross country state champion by winning in 18:20, narrowly beating her mentor, Judy Maguire, of Clearwater, who was second in 18:43.
"It was a fun course," Teats said. "It was different. Your shoes were soaked from jumping through a creek in the first half-mile. I pretty much took the lead at the beginning. I skipped some July races because of a left shin stress fracture, but I felt good here. It was fun."
Teats, 23, will run in the Run For The Gold 2000 at Tampa's Al Lopez Park on Saturday in addition to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race For The Cure 5-kilometer at Straub Park on Sept. 23 and the 22nd Annual Times Turkey Trot 10-kilometer at Clearwater High School on Thanksgiving morning.
"Both my morning and evening runs are focused on the Hops Marathon in December," Teats said. "I'm running 90 miles per week, mostly near Eastlake Woodlands, and I'm on a 20-week program for the marathon."
Teats, who moved to the bay area from Indiana two seasons ago, placed 13th overall in a huge field packed with Kenyan runners at the Indianapolis half-marathon in 1:08:18. Hoping that he has acclimated to Tampa bay's warm, humid conditions, Teats is betting his half-marathon personal record reflects a future marathon success.
TAMPA BAY HOPS MARATHON: The Tampa Bay Hops marathon will be at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 10. According to Greg Emdee, one of the race coordinators, this race is a certified course, which will make it a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
"Runners may need to be reminded that it will be 60 degrees and there will be no snow like there may be in New York," Emdee said. "Conditions will be good, and the course is flat and fast."
For further information on Tampa Bay Hops Marathon, check out www.doitsports.com or call the race office at (813) 229-7866.DL:
RACE FOR THE CURE: The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race For The Cure 5-kilometer race will be at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 23 at St. Petersburg's Straub Park. Other events will include a 5-kilometer walk and a 1-mile fun run/walk. Kids activities also are included.
Last year, the inaugural race raised $121,000 for local breast cancer programs and $46,000 for the national grant program with the help of more than 3,000 bay area runners who participated.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is an international organization established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer at age 36. The foundation has raised $210-million so far.
For further information, call the Race For The Cure hot line at (727) 734-7832.
HAYWARD FIELD MASTERS NATIONALS: Clearwater pentathlete Rob Light placed third in last month's USA National Masters Championships at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
After surviving surgery for ulcerative colitis, Light has struggled on the comeback trail the past year or two. It was tough, he said, but he never gave up, waiting to buy his new javelin and discuss only weeks before the national competition.
Now at age 37, Light is ranked sixth in the world.
Light's event is a combination of five events: the long jump, javelin, discus 200-meter run and 1,500-meter run. At the end of the masters nationals in Eugene, he said, seeing his name on the scoreboard was the experience of a lifetime.
"Hayward Field is the birthplace of Nike," Light said. "The place is like Yankee Stadium. You finish, and suddenly, your name is up there on the scoreboard. And you're in a daze. It was unreal!
"Looking back, my surgery and recovery gave me a totally different perspective. I feel so lucky. When I go out for a run, I appreciate being able to do that. Now I'll take my young son and the rest of my family to indoor nationals in Boston next March. I'll never take anything for granted anymore."
Ethel Lehmann of Clearwater also is a top-ranked masters track athlete. Lehmann is an elite 70+ athlete and is listed along with Light at www.masterstrack.com.
TIMES TURKEY TROT: Many running enthusiasts on both sides of the bay have started to train for the popular Thanksgiving Day morning Times Turkey Trot. If numbers continue to increase, this year's field will approach 15,000.
Gasparilla winner Laura Drake of St. Petersburg (now living and training in Atlanta) plans to run the 10-kilometer event during her family visit. Drake's most recent race was her second place at last month's Ironman Canada Triathlon in Penticton, British Columbia, which she finished in 9:51:05, behind Lori Bowden (9:17:23).
Drake was featured on live Internet reports after she ran the marathon segment in 3:08:46, blasting through the field, passing the likes of Texan Andrea Fisher, Canadian Lori-Lynn Leach and Germany's Ute Mueckel, earning her a paycheck and a silver medal.
For Times Turkey Trot information, call Skip Rogers at (727) 442-5838.