St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Race For The Cure runs into trouble

By DAVE THEALL

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 27, 2001


There were ambivalent feelings among many of the runners in last Saturday's Race For The Cure 5K in downtown St. Petersburg.

There were ambivalent feelings among many of the runners in last Saturday's Race For The Cure 5K in downtown St. Petersburg.

One feeling was that of a personal race well run with a satisfactory or even better finish time. Another was the frustration of that time and the runner's accurate finish not being recognized at the 9:45 a.m. awards ceremony. And a third feeling may be the subsequent inaccuracies of the official results posted on the event's Web site, www.komentampabay.com.

Those results attempt to reflect the top three men and women, plus extensive age-group performances. But not only are the women's top three incorrect, so are many of the age-group results. Steve Meckfessel, the event director, has an explanation.

"The registration form made it clear that computer-chip timing was not guaranteed for race-day registrants, and there were many of them," Meckfessel said. "Plus, some 500 runners who pre-registered failed to follow instructions and pick up their chip race morning.

"Another problem," he said, "was with the registration process. We had a lot of volunteers at various sites -- eight Dillard's -- throughout the area, many of them well-meaning senior citizens, giving out numbers incorrectly."

Meckfessel said the race committee was going to meet soon to decide which direction the event would go. That is, whether the computer chip would be used again or the annual fund-raiser would even be a timed. "We have a lot of issues to face," Meckfessel said. "My goal continues to be to put on a great race."

An example of a mix-up of unknown origin is the age 60-plus win credited to Fran Gaberino of Tampa. Officially, she was credited with a time of 18:41, a 6-minute per-mile pace for 3.1 miles.

"No way," Gaberino said. "My watch and the overhead clock both had me at 28:41. I have no idea how that happened, although I'd love to have an 18:41."

Amy McClenathan of St. Petersburg's Forerunners Club said she pre-registered for the event and picked up her computer chip the morning of the race.

She crossed the finish line in sixth place among women in 18:24, but her name doesn't appear in the final results.

"I don't what happened," said McClenathan, 41, in line for an age-group award. "My husband, Dan, and all three children were recorded, but I wasn't.

"Christy Phillips (last year's Hops Marathon winner) was standing near the finish line, and she said I was sixth just behind Carol Glasscock," McClenathan said.

Fifth-place finisher David Joyce of Tampa said his time of 17:04 is credited to official second-place woman Delia Miller, 51, of Temple Terrace. He doesn't know how that happened. His name doesn't appear in the official results.

One of the happier contestants was women's winner Liane Rae, but you won't see her name at the top of the posted results.

Although Rae had a significant victory in last month's Twilight Run 5K at USF, she broke a finish-line tape Saturday for the first time.

More significantly, Rae executed her plan to perfection. That, in essence, was running just behind favorite Judy Maguire until late in the race, then shifting gears and maintaining her lead to the finish line at Straub Park.

Rae, 28, a science teacher at St. Paul's School in Clearwater, was timed in 17:23. Maguire came in at 17:35.

"It was exciting," Rae said. "Many of my students were there with their parents, plus my own children, Jason, 5, and Truman, 3, were out on the course with my husband, cheering for me."

Rae said her next race would be the Disney 10K Classic on Oct. 7, followed by the Avon Women's 10K at USF on Nov. 17.

The latter venue may be the next time Rae and Race For the Cure runner-up Maguire tangle.

The 42-year-old coach of the Clearwater-based Dianetics Team won the Avon title last year in 36:45 and followed that with a victory in the Turkey Trot 5K in 17:33. Maguire is a two-time winner of the 10K on Thanksgiving Day and said she's more inclined to do that event this year.

Maguire didn't express any disappointment in losing to a local runner Saturday for the first time in years.

"I wondered during the early miles where she was and sensed she was just behind me," Maguire said of Rae. "I was expecting her, but I wasn't able to pick it up when she zipped past me at 21/2 miles.

"It may be the dawn of a new era. However, I can't complain about my time, which is 20 seconds faster than I ran here last year," Maguire said. "I'm enjoying my success as I get older." CURE 5K NOTES: Because the posted results are a mixed bag of correct and incorrect names, places and times, they won't be included in this newspaper.

To be sure, Tony Teats won in 15:12, followed by former Notre Dame harrier Mike Griewe, Steve Wilcox, Jim Burgasser and David Joyce.

What also seems certain is that Shannon McClenathan (32:01) and Kyle Groh (24:11) won their 5-9 divisions.

On the higher end of the age spectrum, Joe Costas of Seminole celebrated his new division with a victory in the 50-59 class in 18:53. Costas, nevertheless, was well behind Joe Burgasser, 63, winner of the 60-plus division in 18:15, and runner-up Don Ardell, 63, 18:41.

St. Petersburg's Annette Frisch was the apparent women's 60-plus winner.

She registered for the race on Aug. 1, attached her chip to her shoe, was timed in an age-group best 26:21, yet doesn't appear in the official results.

ELSEWHERE: Earlier this month, a heavy contingent of Forerunners traveled south for the annual Naples of the Run 20K -- a major event on the road race calendar.

The big winners were Andrew Greenidge of Coconut Creek and Kim Pawelek of Jacksonville Beach.

The top area finishers were Dan Ecker, sixth, 1:14:25, followed by Jim Burgasser, Brian Scott and Jim Duncan.

Largo's John Geigle placed ninth in the 50-54 division. Roger Sweeney of Palm Harbor won (1:25:36) the 55-59 title and was followed by St. Peterburg's Dan DeRussy and Clearwater's Jim Houser. Joe Burgasser took 26th among 314 finishers, earning the 60-64 crown in 1:20:21.

Lizzie McLain of Pinellas Park won the 15-and-under class, Jeanne Lesniak was second in 25-29, Sandy Shelton was tops in 30-34 (1:27:55), Mary Handsel was sixth in 35-39 and Denise Skinner was the runner-up in 40-44. Skinner was followed by Karen Gately of Largo. Dunedin's Celene Peters was fifth in the 45-49 division.

NATIONAL SCENE: Alan Webb, the 18-year-old phenom from Reston, Va., who ran the mile last May in 3:53.43 to break Jim Ryun's 1965 high school record, won his first collegiate race Saturday as a member of the Michigan cross-country team.

In the Great American Cross Country Festival in Rock Hill, S.C., Webb covered the 8K (4.97 miles) in 24:05.

The USATF Road Running Information Center ranked Palm Harbor's Kevin Lyons as the third best 14-year-old in the 5K in 2000 based on his 16:38 in Gasparilla.

This year, the Clearwater Central Catholic junior ran 15:48 in February's Edison Festival of Light 5K in Fort Myers.

ON TAP: Saturday's 8 a.m. Stetson Law Day Run 5K in Gulfport will offer more than a scenic, low-key excursion.

At 8:30, there will be a pancake breakfast, in which non-participants can enjoy for $5. The 8:45 fun run/walk is open to canines and other critters, but only two-legged animals will receive ribbons. For information, call 562-7818.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.