A 4-minute, 53-second opening mile in a 5K road race could mean one of two things. The runner who achieved it went out too fast or he or she is for real.
Last Friday night at the Labor Day Quick 5K from Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), that front-runner was East Lake's Tony Teats, who consistently is No. 1 in the area.
Though that first mile basically was in the parking areas of MOSI with many turns, Teats built a 7-second lead on the chase pack and won comfortably in 15:55 _ a 5:08 per-mile pace. His best for the distance is 14:43, set on the track at Morehead State University.
"The conditions were a little more favorable for the race," said Teats, 27, a former winner of the Gasparilla 15K and Hops Marathon. "The humidity was down.
"I just tried to maintain an even pace during the second and third miles but fell off (the pace) a bit because there was no one pushing me," he said. "Also, there were undulations _ not hills, really _ over the second half of the course."
Clearwater's Keith Sawayda, 41, finished strong to capture second in 16:22. He was followed by Josh Shadle, 20, of Tampa, in 16:44. John Biffar of Fort Myers, a former track standout at Admiral Farragut Academy, took fifth. The women's title was claimed by 12-year-old Carly Quick of Tampa. She prevailed in 20:14, good for 18th in a mixed field of 198, squeezing out a 9-second win over Tampa's Lisa Giblin, 18. The race was held in memory of Quick's mother, Sheri, who died last year at age 44. Quick's father, Jeff, and grandmother, Marilyn, competed in the event.
The third spot was taken by Wesley Chapel's Kasey Baker, 27, who posted 21:11. The first Pinellas female was Rachel Borrelli, 14, of Belleair. The ninth-grade cross-country athlete at Berkeley Prep finished 11th in 22:26.
NAPLES 20K: Members of the Forerunners Club of St. Petersburg traveled south and collected several trophies. Headed by 48-year-old winner Mary Ann Protz, the women captured five of the top seven places. In posting the ninth victory in her last 10 races, Protz took the women's title by nearly 7 minutes with a 1:19:38 performance. Her coach, Joe Burgasser, noted that she averaged sub-20-minute 5Ks four times in the 12.4-mile event. "Mary Ann was running stride-for-stride with my 35-year-old son (Jim) at the 2.5-mile mark," Burgasser said. "She's amazing."
In the gold/silver/bronze sweep by the Forerunners, Carol Glasscock (1:26:15) and Christy Phillips (1:27:03) followed Protz across the line in the 13th annual race. Sixth-place finisher Denise Skinner (1:31:13) received the masters division award. Karen Collins (1:31:33) was seventh, good for first place in the 40-44 class. Among the Forerunners men, Steve Wilcox tuned up for next month's Chicago Marathon with a third-place showing in 1:13:54. He was trailed by Burgasser, 10th in 1:17:36 and second in the 35-39 division. The overall winner was Biffar. His 5:36 per-mile pace resulted in a 1:13:18 finish.
UTAH MARATHON: St. Petersburg's Albert Wieringa, 57, drove to Logan, Utah, to take on the hilly Top of Utah Marathon. Wieringa had said that he hoped to break 3:15 in his third attempt at 26.2 miles. He ran conservatively the first 14 miles, mostly downhill, in anticipation for the last 7 miles, mostly uphill. "The course took a sharp uphill turn at Mile 19, plus we headed into a strong wind," said Wieringa, a Forerunners member who moved to the U.S. from the Netherlands last year. "That (wind) almost made me stand still at first, but I was able to pick up the pace and pass a lot of runners who had started too fast."
Wieringa's strategy paid off as he crossed the finish line in 3:09:17, good for first place in the 55-59 age bracket. His Boston Marathon qualifying standard is 3:45. Overall, Wieringa finished 44th among 2,018 runners in Utah. That is impressive for someone his age from a sea-level city running hills at altitude, 5,680 feet. "Those last miles were pretty horrible, but thanks to my 70 miles a week training, I could keep on running," Wieringa said. Wieringa's marathon fitness also improved by successfully competing at shorter distances. In the Run For the Gold in Tampa earlier this month, he clicked off an 18:37 for 5K.
MAUI MARATHON: Largo's Dottie Foster, a Forerunner, traveled to Hawaii and received a second-place award in the women's 55-59 age division. Her time among 27 contestants was 4:23:01.
COLLEGE RANKS: USF's Christa Benton, a five-time state champion for Keswick Christian in cross country and track, clocked in at 17:58 in a 5K at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville. She finished sixth in a strong field from the state and Georgia.