One household excels during 10K race

Published January 27, 2008

The fifth annual St. Pete Beach Classic 10K produced two races with completely different patterns. Both involved members of the same household.

In the men's race, consistent area winner Lee Stephens of Tampa had a battle on his hands from Craig Schmidt of Zephyrhills. Stephens led the first 2 miles, with Schmidt breathing down his neck. For the next 3 miles, they ran virtually together in a chess match, both waiting to see when someone was going to risk surging too soon.

With about a mile to go, Schmidt, 24, made a bold move, picking up the pace that he maintained to the finish line, winning in 33:12 to Stephens' 33:38.

"He (Schmidt) just had more at the end than I did," said Stephens, who finished second last year in this race with a slightly faster time, 33:04, as Judson Cake of Blowing Rock, N.C., won in 32:31.

In the concurrent women's race at St. Pete Beach, Dana Parrot of Tampa jumped out to an early lead over Vicki Stum of Dunedin and Tampa's Lois Waite and never wavered as she cruised to the finish line unchallenged, maintaining a 6:10 per mile pace to win in 38:16. Waite finished third in 38:56.

In winning, Parrot finished just one place overall behind her husband, Ed. Stephens lives and trains with the Parrots.

"I knew early on that I was leading the women's field," said Parrot, who posted the third-fastest 10K in the state last year, 36:46, behind Sonja Uhl and Christa Benton. "But I didn't want to look back. I felt strong and just tried to maintain a consistent pace."

The strategy worked as the former University of Massachusetts track star pulled away at the 3-mile mark and cruised home comfortably.

"I like the waterfront course in this race and the fact it's well-marked, accurately measured and well-run," said Parrot, coming off some injuries from last year.

Kathy Frailing, 40, won the women's masters award with a time of 41:58. The men's winner in that category was John Noland, 45, of Kingston, Mass., in 34:02 since Steve Mandel of Temple Terrace, in the same bracket with a time of 34 even, earned the third-place award.

Former Northeast High 800-meter track runner Jon Mott won the 5K event at St. Pete Beach, with Karen Collins of the Forerunners Club first woman in 19:38.

CLEARWATER HALF MARATHON: Although the course record of Elias Gonzalez, 1:14:25 in 2006, on the two major bridges race looked to hold up for a few years, Justin Lutz ran alone last week, breaking it without breaking a sweat in a laid-back time of 1:12:30.

Lutz, a Marine sergeant stationed in Providence, R.I., after serving in Iraq last year, said his goal was to average a 5:30 per mile pace but settled for 5:32.

"We have hills in Massachusetts where I live and train, but those bridges (Clearwater Memorial and Clearwater Pass) were long and steep, plus the wind coming back was fierce," Lutz said.

St. Petersburg's Trey McDonald, 38, a former Auburn swimmer, was a distant second in 1:22:09, followed by Chris Petrock of Tampa in 1:24:11.

Madeleine Zolfo, 43, of Treasure Island started slowly in the women's race then proceeded to reel in the top five along the way. She caught the last leader at the crest of Clearwater Memorial Bridge. Sharon Beltran del Rio of Clearwater finished second in 1:34:44.

FOOTNOTE:John Voorhis of St. Petersburg added his touch of durability. He ran his 167th career marathon (3:44:13) at Disney, finished second in his age division at the St. Pete Beach Classic 5K, then drove to Clearwater to run in the half marathon. He took third, 50-54, in 1:50:08.