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Distance Classic notebook: A 15K, half-marathon double's a bit distressing

Babson Park’s Austin Richmond, left, and Jon Mott run neck-and-neck during Saturday’s 15K.
Babson Park’s Austin Richmond, left, and Jon Mott run neck-and-neck during Saturday’s 15K.
Published Feb. 27, 2017

A day after finishing first and second in Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, Babson Park's Austin Richmond and Jon Mott were back pounding the pavement in Sunday's half-marathon.

And they were feeling some pain.

"This is the last time I will do this," said Richmond, who finished Sunday's half-marathon in one hour, 9:17 minutes, good for seventh place. "I wanted to do (both the 15K and the half-marathon) because I wanted to be a part of our local races, but I don't think anybody would suggest that this is a good idea. I had no power today after yesterday's run. It was tough."

Mott, who is a neighbor and running partner with Richmond, finished eighth on Sunday in 1:09:52.

Richmond won Saturday's 15K in 47:26; Mott was second in 48:12.

Benoit trifecta

Former Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit rounded out her Distance Classic weekend in fine fashion, finishing Sunday's half-marathon in 1:29:16, or 79th overall.

Benoit's run followed a solid performance on Saturday when she ran both the 15K and 5K races. In the 15K she finished atop the female grand master chart at 1:02:01 and was 17th overall in the 5K in 20:44.

Benoit, 59, said Saturday that she wanted to celebrate the Distance Classic's 40th anniversary and the "Treasured Chest Challenge," in which runners first compete in the DONNA marathon in Jacksonville, then the Gasparilla races back-to-back to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

By the numbers

The 40th edition of the Gasparilla Distance Classic was as big and strong as ever.

32,088 Total registered runners this year

32,165 Total registered runners in 2016

6,500 Registered runners in the 15K, and same number in the half-marathon

13,604 Registered runners in the 5K

5,484 Registered runners in the 8K

Money time

In addition to their standout performances in the half-marathon, the top 10 local competitors crossed the finish line with a little extra booty to spend.

Richmond was the top earner in the men's division, winning $2,000 for his seventh-place finish in 1:09:17. Behind Richmond, Mott earned $1,500 for finishing eighth. Bradenton's Dustin Spanbauer took home $750 in ninth, Jose Perez of Haines City received $500 in 10th and David Johnson of Brandon won $250 for coming in 12th.

On the women's side, Tampa's Kayla Atkinson and Becky Howarth were awarded $2,000 and $1,500 for their eighth- and ninth-place finishes, respectively. Wesley Chapel's Jenn Walton won $750 for finishing 12th, Jacki Wachtel of New Port Richey earned $500 in 16th and Terri Rejimbal, a Tampa resident, received $250 for an 18th-place finish.

Youngest to oldest

The half-marathon and 8K again featured several standout finishes by the youngest and oldest competitors.

Nine-year-old Oscar Brown of Land O'Lakes won the boys' 10-and-under title in the 8K in 33:26 — good for 42nd place overall. Bianca Siqueira, also of Land O'Lakes, was the top 10U girl at 43:10. Treasure Island triathletes Jackie Yost (1:37:21), 88, and her husband, 87-year-old Larry Yost (1:14:40), were the oldest-finishing participants.

Riverview 4-year-old Sheila Reedy was the top 10U girls finisher in the half-marathon at 2:40:37. Charlie Eggimann of St. Petersburg was the fastest 10U boy at 1:53:47.

Clearwater's Bill Mooney, at 79, was the race's oldest finisher at 2:23:26 with an average mile pace of 10:56.