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Not even a cold can stop Schmidt

Jennifer Schmidt was unaffected by a virus and won easily. Sean McManus was the overall champ.

By KEITH NIEBUHR

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 5, 2001


CITRUS SPRINGS -- At this point, area runners must be starting to wonder what it will take to beat Jennifer Schmidt.

The 31-year-old shook off a bad cold Saturday to convincingly win the women's title at the fourth annual Citrus Road Run 5K. Schmidt, who almost didn't compete, finished in 19 minutes, 46 seconds to win by 47 seconds.

Sean McManus of Hernando was the overall champion.

"I was afraid I'd get out there and not be able to breath," Schmidt said.

Schmidt, who won last month's prestigious Citrus Summer Showdown, began feeling sick Tuesday. The cold gave her a sore throat, caused chest pains and impeded her breathing. She trained lightly for the event, but it didn't seem to matter.

From the start, she separated herself from her competitors. Only Amanda Howard of Hernando, who finished second (20:33), was within a minute of Schmidt.

"I knew I was going to run, but I didn't know how well I was going to do," Schmidt said. "I'm pleased."

McManus, a surprise winner at the Citrus Summer Showdown, had another strong showing. A recent graduate of Notre Dame, the ex-Lecanto High standout won in 15:51. Daniel Martin of Hialeah was second (16:29). He was followed by Wayne Johnson of Homosassa (16:38) and twin brothers Sean and John Jefferson of Delray Beach, who finished in 17:09 and 17:11, respectively.

McManus, 22, broke free from the field of more than 160 runners after the first half-mile.

"I just wanted to run each mile in 5:10 or better and I was pretty consistent with that," he said.

Despite growing up in Citrus County, McManus said his five years at Notre Dame left him unprepared to train hard in Florida's summer heat. He had no idea what to expect.

"I was a little hesitant," McManus said. "I haven't done any interval training since the (Citrus Summer Showdown). I kind of laid low. I'm still having a rough time with the weather since I've been gone for five years."

The race likely is the last for McManus in Citrus County, which is good news for his fellow competitors. He will move to San Diego next month to begin work as a civil engineer.

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