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    New 10K adds Stampeders to yearly race

    Thirteen-year-old James O'Berry wins the first men's title; Donna Nesslar is the women's winner.

    By JULIANNE WU

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001


    SEMINOLE -- Before the Eighth Seminole Stampede began in Walsingham Park Saturday, running buddies Ray Hoover and Ned Bennett were just "hanging loose," waiting for the start of the 5K run.

    It's a routine the pair, who enter lots of races, know well.

    "I like to get all the kinks out and just loosen up for the race," said Hoover, 85, of Largo.

    He and Bennett, 80, of St. Petersburg are members of the West Florida Y Runners Club. Hoover said he walks three days a week on the Pinellas Trail and bikes four days a week. Bennett runs 5 miles a day.

    "We're young for our age," Hoover joked.

    Meanwhile, the Jim Power family of Largo warmed up over on the sidelines of the Stampede, a trio of foot races that serves as a major fundraiser for the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Power, 42, and son, Kevin, 11, a Seminole Middle School sixth-grader, ran in the 5K, while Rose Power, 40, and daughter Morgan, 3, ran in the 1-mile Fun Run.

    "We registered as soon as the information came out. I stopped by the chamber office and signed us up," said Power, a fire inspector/investigator for the Seminole Fire Rescue Department. He and his son ended up with race numbers 1 and 2.

    Those didn't predict where he finished, but he was happy nonetheless.

    "We didn't win anything, but I did my best run ever," Power said.

    This year, for the first time, a 10K race was added to the Stampede, which began in 1994 to dedicate the Lake Seminole bridge across 102nd Street N.

    Donna Nesslar, female winner of the 10K, liked the course, which included parts of the Florida Botanical Gardens and the Gulf Coast Museum of Art across the street from the 90-acre Walsingham Park.

    "It was so beautiful going through the botanical gardens that now I want to bring my family here," said Nesslar, 38, of Largo. She said she is also a member of the West Florida Y Runners Club.

    In all, 348 people registered for Saturday's event. In the 10K race, 79 runners signed up.

    Other overall winners included:

    10K: Men's winner and fastest overall, James O'Berry, 13, of St. Petersburg, with a time of 35 minutes, 47 seconds. Women's winner, Nesslar, at 39 minutes, 49 seconds.

    5K: Men's winner, Tom Adamich, 35, of South Pasadena; women's winner, Andrea Gillespie, 27, of Stoneham, Mass..

    1-mile fun run: Top honors for both men and women went to youngsters. The winners were Sean Fleming, 12, a seventh-grader at Madeira Beach Middle School, and Brittany Kotchman, 11, a fifth-grader at Indian Rocks Christian School.

    -- Information from Times files was used in this report.

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