Advertisement
  1. Sports

Arizona’s Scott Fauble holds off defending champ in Gasparilla half-marathon

The 27-year-old just beats out Elkanah Kibet for his first race victory in four years.
Scott Fauble crosses the finish line to place first in the men's half-marathon during the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic on Sunday. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)
Published Feb. 24
Updated Feb. 24

TAMPA — Sprinting down the backstretch in Sunday’s Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic, Scott Fauble was far enough ahead of the men’s half-marathon field to know that first place would belong to him.

Upon this discovery, Fauble, 27, extended his arms, emphatically breaking the tape with his elbows as he crossed the finish line in one hour, 5:09 minutes. He continued to pump his fists amid a steady flow of hands patting him on the back.

It was a moment of unfiltered joy for a title Fauble finally could embrace.

Fauble had finally figured it out. It was there on his face, the jubilation and relief that came with knowing he had learned how to not only compete with the best in the distance world, but surge ahead.

“I’ve been so close for a number of times,” said Fauble, who won a race for the first time in four years. “It was nice to finally break the tape instead of watching someone else do it right in front of me.”

RELATED: Full race results here

By Fauble’s account, he has been a runnerup at least five times in his nascent running career. Several factors have caused him to fall short. Sometimes, he unleashed his kick too early. Other times, he did not a cover a move made by an opponent.

“I’ve got second enough times there wasn’t really a script to follow,” Fauble said.

There were times in his career when it seemed the finish he wanted so badly was locked in a vault and no one would tell him the combination. But the painful memories of races that got away served as a powerful motivators.

Defending champion Elkanah Kibet places second in the men's half-marathon. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)

“As much as it hurts to lose, I’ve also learned how to overcome some of those mistakes and get better,” Fauble said.

This was the first time Fauble participated in the Gasparilla Distance Classic, mostly to gear up for the Boston Marathon. The muggy conditions for the 13.2-mile race along Bayshore Boulevard also helped Fauble prepare for the kind of weather he could face two months from now in Massachusetts.

The temperature at the start of Sunday’s half-marathon was near 70 degrees, a stark contrast to the snowy conditions Fauble left three days ago in Flagstaff, Ariz., where he and Gasparilla half-marathon women’s winner Aliphine Tuliamuk train with Northern Arizona Elite track club.

To acclimate, Fauble purposely wore wet clothes and covered himself with ice.

“I looked at the forecast,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be 40 degrees with no wind or humidity. It was going to be a tough test.”

Fauble was just as prepared for the competition.

He put it all together by relying on strategy in a duel that resembled a chess match as much as a foot race.

From the start, Fauble stayed with a lead pack that included defending half-marathon champion Elkanah Kibet, as well as Parker Stinson, Abinet Adraro and Augustus Maiyo. As the miles piled up, the contenders dwindled.

By the last 2 miles, Fauble and Colorado’s Kibet were the only front-runners. The leader was hard to determine, with each trying to shake off the other. One runner would gain a slight advantage, only to quickly see it disappear.

In the last 400 meters, Fauble made his move at the right time, surging ahead to take the lead for good.

“I just sat on Elkanah (01:05:13) until the end,” Fauble said. “I would have a liked to have made a big move earlier, but Elkanah was looking pretty strong and wasn’t really letting me go past him. So I let him lead and push it a little bit, and stayed patient. That was the biggest thing.”

If patience is a virtue, consider this elusive win Fauble’s reward.

Read more:

This all-female fleet pulls off the ultimate Gasparilla feat

Aliphine Tuliamuk remembers her roots after Gasparilla half-marathon win

It’s not always about a sprint to the finish

Canadian Chris Balestrini wins Gasparilla 15K

Becky Dunkel claims another Gasparilla Distance Classic crown

Tampa native finally nabs elusive Gasparilla 5K title at home

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Blake Snell on his return: “I think if (we were) 20 games out I probably wouldn’t pitch the rest of the season, honestly." MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    With the team in the playoff hunt, Snell’s return from injury is expedited, but Tampa Bay still expects quality innings.
  2. The NFC South quarterbacks -- the Panthers' Cam Newton, the Falcons' Matt Ryan and the Saints' Drew Brees are in various states of duress. It could add up to an advantage for the Bucs, but Coach Bruce Arians says pay no attention. Associated Press
    Saints’ Drew Brees, Panthers’ Cam Newton battling injuries, but Tampa Bay coach wants an inward focus
  3. Carrollwood Day's Haley Brown leads Tampa Bay in kills with 167. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Players from Carrollwood Day, Calvary Christian, Central and Berkeley Prep claim top spots.
  4. At 23 years old, Tampa Bay forward Brayden Point already has 91 career NHL goals, including 41 last season. Now that his entry level contract has expired, Point is looking for a big payday but the Lightning has salary cap issues. CHRIS O'MEARA | AP Photo CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    John Romano: History says restricted free agents almost always stay put, and there’s too much at stake for Tampa Bay to allow this impasse to go on.
  5. Rays sensation Austin Meadows, right, and teammate Willy Adames will have plenty to celebrate if the Rays can make ground in the wild-card race this week. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    The multi-step process starts with registering online for a “postseason ticket opportunity."
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez works against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Denver. Pirates All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez has been arrested on charges of pornography and soliciting a child. Vazquez was taken into custody Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Police on one count of computer pornography/solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) DAVID ZALUBOWSKI  |  AP
    The girl was 13 when the relationship began, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says.
  7. Riverview quarterback Stazion Gage has accounted for almost 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns this season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Sharks are on the cusp of securing their first winning season in more than a decade.
  8. 4 hours ago• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State coach Willie Taggart reacts during the first half against Boise State in Tallahassee on Aug. 31. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    New quarterbacks and coordinators might explain the conference’s struggles at the outset of 2019.
  9. Blake Snell returns to the mound tonight in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. [AP photo]
    As part of an MLB package, select games are moved off traditional TV for viewing via mobile devices, smart TVs, laptops.
  10. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Caleb Benenoch participates in drills during training camp at the team's practice facility, One Buc Place, in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 29, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Former fifth-round pick reportedly received a lot of interest after being cut by Tampa Bay.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement