St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Fewer runners challenge for titles as expected


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001

TAMPA -- Some people might have been scared off by reports of smoke from the fires in Polk County. Others might have changed their minds because of projections of warm weather.

Whatever the reason, the total of 12,714 participants at Saturday's Gasparilla Distance Classic was below expectations. More than 11,500 had registered by Feb. 18.

"It was never an issue. Other people made it an issue," race director Susan Harmeling said of smoke possibly causing the race's cancellation. "We can't suggest that the low numbers are because of that. I think the heat was a contributing factor -- it could have been anything. But hey, we had 12,700 runners. That's a lot. It was a great day."

The record of 14,980 was set in 1990.

AS THE WIND BLOWS: The wind direction often changes on Bayshore Boulevard, seeming to create a head wind both ways on the out-and-back course.

"Going out, at times, it felt like it was in our face. Then coming back, I was wondering, "Where is that (wind) coming from?' It's weird," said Tom Sellers, 35, of Ormond Beach, the wheelchair winner. "It seemed like a lot farther than 9.3 miles."

"We had a tail wind going out for a while, and then it turned into a head wind, and then it was obviously a tail wind coming back, and then it switched to a head wind," women's 15K and 5K winner Laura Drake said. "Welcome to Florida."

BACK ON TRACK: Sellers, a top-flight wheelchair racer in the early 1990s, was seriously injured when he was struck by an automobile in 1996. He recently began racing again, and one of the first things on his agenda was Gasparilla. He finished second in the event twice, in 1993 and 1994.l "I actually feel a little vindicated, because I really believe I won one of the times I came in second," said Sellers, who lost once in a photo finish. "I said first thing I want to do is go back and take care of the Gasparilla situation.

"It's kind of like a totally new beginning for me."

NO PRIZES?: Although Gasparilla no longer awards prize money, it does offer all-expenses paid trips to Washington for the annual Cherry Blossom 10-mile race in April to the winners of three distinct cups in the 15K.

The Tampa Bay Cup, to the top bay area finishers, went to Matt Whaley of Tampa and Laure Blume of Pinellas Park. They finished second and fourth, respectively, in the 15K.

The Masters Cup, awarded to the top bay area residents 40 and older, went to Gary Peters of Plant City and Mary Delie of Palm Harbor, and the Florida Cup, for the top state residents, went to Mike Greiwe of Tampa and Bea Marie Altieri of Clermont. Greiwe is attending medical school at South Florida.

AGE GROUPS: Don Ardell of Tampa won the men's 60-64 age group in 58:50, and Joe Burgasser of St. Petersburg was second in 59:15. "I'm thrilled with that," Burgasser said. "I haven't raced since last October (a 2:54 marathon), so I was pleased. I was gaining on Ardell till we hit the wind coming back. That's when he pulled away."

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR: The next Gasparilla Distance Classic is March 2, 2002.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

  • Sorrow in mind, foot on the gas
  • Fans pour outtheir emotions for Earnhardt
  • Bodine makes late pit stop pay off
  • Gordon wins pole, tips cap to late rival

  • Devil Rays
  • Hammer time ?
  • Rays tales

  • Lightning/NHL
  • One game, two shutouts
  • Injury could make Mario sit out against Lightning
  • Today: Lightning at Sabres
  • Clymer's career could move forward
  • Avs aren't cheering -- yet -- trade that brought in Blake
  • Slapshots
  • HL roundup

  • Bucs/Pro football
  • The market for top QBs likely is too competitive
  • Professional football roundup

  • Gasparilla Distance Classic
  • Drake pulls off unique daily double
  • Quick start, fast finish
  • Fewer runners challenge for titles as expected

  • Baseball
  • Caruso, Guillen know what Hamilton faces
  • With all their new pluses, Rangers still minus pitching
  • Today's area camps workouts
  • Hard-throwing Colome gets good reviews
  • Torre: As usual, pitching is the key
  • Baseball roundup

  • College basketball
  • Bulls back in hunt entering rematch
  • Stumble sends Tampa down rugged path
  • College basketball roundup
  • Today: FSU at N.C. State
  • Women's basketball briefs

  • Et cetera
  • NBA roundup
  • Most agree: NBA wouldn't fly in Tampa Bay
  • Sports digest
  • Highs and lows
  • This week on TV

  • Outdoors
  • Calm day shortens regatta
  • Area piers offering a variety

  • Boxing
  • 'Kunga' a winner by TKO in the 10th
  • Tarver starts comeback with TKO

  • Letters
  • Media sell Mickelson short after playoff win

  • Preps
  • Hillsborough schools have a banner day
  • Gators reach deep to clobber Crimson Tide
  • Eagles proud with their two victories
  • Three area wrestlers win titles
  • Land O'Lakes leaves no doubt early, crushes Hernando
  • Jesuit, Bloomingdale win titles
  • Bulls bring home title with overtime victory
  • Cowboys fall in penalty kicks
  • War Eagles swarm Leopards
  • Goals not necessary for Tigers' celebration
  • Tornadoes win 3A state title
  • Tornado seniors go out on top
  • Six Bulls seniors keep their promise to bring home title
  • Jesuit goalie overcomes 'deathly sick'
  • Sarasota overwhelms Boca Ciega in Region 3 final 83-48
  • Cousins make statement instead of state history

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts