Some races are more a means to an end than an end in themselves.
That's basically how winner Tony Teats of East Lake approached the recent Pier 60 Series event on the natural surface at Clearwater Beach.
The champion of the inaugural Hops Marathon in 2000 took the early Pier 60 lead, covering the first mile in a swift 4 minutes, 50 seconds.
From there, Teats' main opponent was the high humidity. He coasted home with an officially-corrected time of 15:59 on the 5-kilometer out-and-back course.
"I just ran the beach race to get in shape," said Teats, 26, who recorded a 5K of 14:43 on the track while representing Morehead State University in 1999.
Teats, an accountant with Sykes Enterprises in Tampa, logged two other races at the same distance in June to prepare for one of the nation's premier events _ Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race this past Friday.
On June 7, Teats placed fifth (15:24) in the Run For The Pies in Jacksonville. Then, in a somewhat pressure-packed 5K in Hartford City, Ind., he finished first (15:28).
"That's my hometown, Hartford City," Teats said. "It was a fun time for me with my family and friends there. I would have been upset if I lost."
Looking ahead to the Jacksonville Marathon in December, Teats hopes for a performance of 2 hours, 22 minutes to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon, Feb. 7 in Birmingham, Ala.
PIER 60 NOTES: Clearwater's Keith Sawayda finished second (17:03) and was followed by Dan Williams (17:29) of Durham, N.C. Clearwater's Kim Miles, 33, hung back early in the beach race before taking the lead. Amy McClenathan, 42, of St. Petersburg closed on her in the home stretch but came up 7 seconds short.
HUNTER'S GREEN 5K CLASSIC: The combined ages of the male and female winners in Tampa was 92. That is, Air Force Col. Paul Hough, the men's winner, is 45 and women's champ Mary Ann Protz (18:45) of St. Petersburg is 47. Protz had less competition, winning by 3 minutes. But Hough (17:15), stationed at MacDill, had to work to fend off Tampa's Ryan Kniery (17:48).
RUN THRU HELL 5K: Amanda Quick, only an incoming sophomore at Gaither High School, took the women's title (19:19) in Tampa after holding off Jacki Waller of Tarpon Springs by 11 seconds. In the men's race, former Plant High and Notre Dame runner Mike Greiwe prevailed in 16:23 over second-place finisher Carlos Gutierrez (16:49).
ULTRA SCENE: Palm Harbor's Noora Alidina, 46, ventured to the back trails of California to take on the Western States Endurance 100, as in miles. With an official cutoff time of 30 hours, Alidina crossed the finish line in 29:16 to receive a coveted medal.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Two locally-connected athletes secured berths in next month's international meet in Paris with their performance in June's U.S. Track and Field Championships. John Capel (Hernando High/UF) finished second in the 200 meters to receive a position in his specialty. Former Brooksville resident and frequent area competitor Teresa Vaill, 40, placed third in the 20K walk to qualify for the Aug. 23-31 competition in France.
QUARTERLY RANKINGS: This period's list includes events as diverse as April's Boston Marathon to Friday's Pier 60 Beach Race. Often, the top runners in those and other local competition never meet head-to-head. In that case, priority is given to major races, such as Boston, and local events, such as Harvey's Festival Run in St. Petersburg, Beach to Bayou in Tarpon Springs and the Safety Harbor Sprints.
1. Tony Teats, 2. Keith Batten, 3. Steve Wilcox, 4. Bob Villacres, 5. Keith Sawayda, 6. Spyder Cruz, 7. Jim Duncan, 8. Ian Payne, 9. Bryan Prushinski, 10. Lee Fictum. Masters _ 1. David Putnam, 2. Mike Weiss, 3. Victor Yeager, 4. Joe Costas, 5. Duncan Cameron.
1. Lisa Valentine, 2. Judy Maguire, 3. Jacki Waller, 4. Mary Ann Protz, 5. Kim Donaldson, 6. Kim Miles, 7. Donna Nesslar, 8. Amy McClenathan, 9. Geri Laverty, 10. Dianne Cayll-Skiles. Masters _ 1. Karen Gately, 2. Barbara Eckes, 3. Karen Alexeev, 4. Lisa Plescia, 5. Annette Frisch.