CLEARWATER — For the first mile of the 10K, Jon Mott stayed with the lead pack at the 36th Times Turkey Trot.
He did not have its company for long.
By the time the race ventured off Clearwater's Keene Road and into neighboring streets, Mott had surged to the front, never to relinquish his lead.
No one lately has been able to keep up with Mott, a former standout at Northeast High and Webber International who entered Thursday's race as the two-time defending champion.
Without anyone pushing him during the final 4 miles, Mott easily won his third straight title, finishing in 31 minutes, 32 seconds, nine seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Chris Yanichko (32:41).
"I knew I had a chance to win," Mott said. "I just didn't think I would be ahead by that much at the end of the race."
The 10K was part of a brutal training regimen Mott is going through to prepare for the Houston Marathon in January. Mott hopes to run a sub 2-hour, 18-minute race in Houston, a standard needed to qualify for the 2016 Olympic trials.
Mott is logging 120 miles a week, including 55 miles in the past three days.
"It's really intense," Mott said. "I was really using (the Turkey Trot) as part of my training. I wasn't really trying to go all out, but I felt I still had enough to win."
Mott finished the first mile in 5:09. By the second mile, he was at 4:58.
"That wasn't part of any strategy to go that fast by the second mile," Mott said. "It just sort of happened that I was able to do that."
Adrienne Curtis also was a decisive winner in the women's 10K, winning in 39:24, a minute faster than five-time champion Christa Stephens.
"I didn't have anyone else near me through most of the race, so I knew I had a good shot at winning," Curtis said.
This was the first 10K Turkey Trot title for Curtis, a former standout at Southern Indiana who moved to the Tampa Bay area for graduate school. In July 2013, Curtis suffered a stress fracture in her pelvis, which sidelined her for a year.
"That was a difficult injury to come back from," Curtis said. "It took (until) about July of this year to where I felt I could run again at full strength."
The first mile was faster than most predicted for the women's field. Curtis kept pace and broke away midway through the second mile. "There were a few tactical errors at the beginning of the race that made it a little harder for me throughout the race," Curtis said. "But I still felt confident about winning."
Gabe Holguin (15:42) and Justine Falcone (18:52) won the men's and women's 5K races, respectively. In the 1K, Florida's Andrew Llewellyn, a former standout at Countryside High, won the men's race in 4:38. Lauryn Falcone won the women's 1K in 4:57.