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5K winner gives away glory
By Emory Skolfield, Times Correspondent
Published February 10, 2008
POSTRACE EMBARCE: Kristy Vaivoda and Ryan Skradski of Tampa hug at the finish of the 15K . "It's a great accomplishment," he said of their first 15K. "We're training for a marathon."
[Kathleen Flynn | Times]
TAMPA - Scott Mackley nearly didn't race Saturday afternoon, and when he did, it was under an alias. Sort of.
Mackley, 21, of Lakeland defended his title at the Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K, covering the breezy Tampa course in 15 minutes, 24 seconds - comfortably ahead of 16-year-old Chamberlain High standout Mark Parrish (15:35).
As a mohawk-wearing Mackley crossed the Bayshore Boulevard finish line, the public address announcer excitedly proclaimed Benjamin Martucci the winner. Well, not quite.
Martucci, a friend and teammate of Mackley at Florida Southern College, had not run, instead allowing Mackley - who had forgotten his bib number in the car - to don No. 8306.
"I left all my stuff, my (timing) chip, my number, everything ... completely forgot it," said the FSC junior who finished in 14:57 last year. "At first I just wasn't going to race in it, but we got it all straightened out."
Brooksville's Drew Martucci, another FSC runner and the brother of the real Ben Martucci, finished third in 15:37.
Another former champion, Laura Bowerman of Temple Terrace, ran a 17:28 to top the women's field. The Florida State junior, who also won in 2005, has been recovering from persistent foot problems and hadn't raced competitively since May.
"I had no clear expectation of where I would finish," the former King High star said. "I've only been training about six weeks consistently, but it felt really good to be back."
WORKING ON HIS VELOCITY: Rays 34-year-old left-handed reliever Trever Miller, who played for Tampa Bay in 2004-05 and was re-signed this week, ran the 5K in an electronic-chip recorded time of 34:57, 4,423rd overall.
AMPUTEE SHINES: Twenty-year-old amputee Ronnie Dickson, whose quest to finish the 5K with a prosthetic left leg was profiled in a recent Times story, completed the race with a chip time of 39:30. Dickson, who ran side by side with girlfriend Amanda Kling, lost his leg to Trevor's disease, a rare bone disorder, in June 2005.
"I felt great; everything went off without a hitch," said Dickson, a full-time local college student. "I didn't injure myself, nothing bad happened. My (prosthetic) liner held up, which was my biggest concern."
SPEEDY SHORTY: He wasn't easy to spot, crossing the finish line amid a sea of grown men and women, but that was 11-year-old Hunter McCann finishing the 15K in 1:13:12 - comfortably ahead of thousands of other competitors, including his training partner and mother, Pamela.
That's right, a sub-4-footer running sub-8-minute miles over a 9.3-mile course. It was the first 15K for McCann, a Treasure Island resident.
RECORD TURNOUT: Race director Susan Harmeling confirmed more than 8,400 participants ran in the 5K, eclipsing the event record established in 2007. Approximately 4,600 ran in the 15K, the most in that event since the half-marathon was added in 2001. Harmeling said only one participant was transported to nearby Tampa General Hospital, adding his injuries were not life-threatening.
Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.