Myers finds second title at end of Trail
By DAVE THEALL
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000
Pinellas runners nearly swept the men's and women's divisions in the recent Croom Trail 50K (31.1 miles) in Brooksville.
The event served as the Road Runners Club of America State Championship at that distance.
Jeff Myers of St. Petersburg took the early lead on the 7.8-mile looping course in Withlacoochee State Park, then weathered a late charge from Art Sarakas of Pompano Beach to successfully defend his 1999 title.
Myers finished in 3 hours, 54 minutes and 5 seconds to Sarakas's 3:58:09.
Jon Docs of Tampa, a former University of South Florida runner, took third in 4:01:10, followed by Shaun Deitrick of Clearwater in 4:03:20.
Forty-eight runners started the race, and 42 finished.
"It got real hot out there that last loop," said Myers, 42, whose marathon personal best is 2:33.
"I'm glad I built up an early lead because I had to walk a couple of those steep hills on the final loop," he said.
The concurrent women's race was even closer as Pam Byrne of Land O' Lakes was pressed to the limit by four-time winner Linda Mason of Clearwater.
Mason held back early, pacing first-time ultra runner Noora Alidina of Palm Harbor through the first 10 miles.
However, with only three miles to go, Mason was told by spectators that Byrne, 25, was within striking distance.
"I decided to go after her," said Mason, 47, a nurse practitioner who has run 2:59 marathons in Huntsville, Ala., and at the Boston Marathon.
"She saw me with about 11/2 miles to go and took off," Mason said. "I kept closing but fell just short as we reached the finish line."
Byrne placed seventh overall, 4:13:55, just 20 seconds ahead of Mason.
Byrne collapsed after crossing the finish line, and it was Mason who ministered to her.
"She was dehydrated and totally wasted," Mason said. "I don't think she drank enough along the course. She ran her heart out.
"I'm happy that she beat me by fewer seconds, 20, than our age difference, 22."
Alidina, 44, finished strong (4:20:36) for third place among women, followed by Kate McFall, 29, of Tallahassee in 4:26:36. (Please see Croom Trail glance for additional Pinellas County finishers.)
NOTES: Byrne recovered from the Croom Trail trial well to win Sunday's Flapjacks 5K Run in Land O'Lakes with a time of 20:31.
Mason has the Times Turkey Trot on Nov. 23 on her race calendar. She won the women's masters division in 1995.
Her husband, Mike Barber, won the 55-59 age division at the Croom Trail in 5:10:45.
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE: Mike Nichols of Pinellas Park won the 5K event at Largo Central Park last Sunday.
The victory for the 41-year-old computer consultant came on the heels of another 5K win the previous day in Bradenton.
Nichols' winning time Sunday was 17:44. In Bradenton, he won in 17:36.
"That win Sunday didn't come easy," said Nichols, who moved here from Tennessee earlier in the year. "I led the first mile, but then yielded to Brian Van Es (New Port Richey), who led till just before the three-mile mark.
"I don't get to win often, so it was nice to do it twice last weekend," Nichols said. "However, I have run 5Ks faster this year -- 17:05 at Al Lopez Park in the Run for the Gold."
Nichols said he probably would run the 10K at Fort De Soto Park this weekend and the Wingding 5K on Thanksgiving Day in Clearwater.
Michelle Krisel of Seminole won (20:50) the women's 5K at Largo Central Park.
She ran collegiately at William and Mary after runner-up finishes in cross country and track (800 meters) for Seminole High School.
Shannon Robbins, a former track star at Clearwater High School, won (40:28) the women's 10K. Ed Hensley of Fort Meade captured the overall title in 38:50.
There were 132 runners in the 5K, 88 in 10K, for a total of 220 in the first-year event organized by the Largo Fire and Rescue Department.
OLYMPIC WRAP-UP: The U.S. men's marathon team, actually only one contestant this time, Rod DeHaven, finished a disappointing 69th in 2:30:46.
He reportedly suffered from "intestinal distress" from 15 miles on.
From 1972 on -- when Frank Shorter won in Munich, Kenny Moore finished fourth and Jack Bacheler ninth -- the U.S. team has been on the decline.
In 1992 in Barcelona, Steve Spence placed 12th, Ed Eyestone 13th and Bob Kempainen 17th.
Then four years ago in Atlanta, Keith Brantly of Fort Lauderdale finished 28th, Kempainen 31st and Mark Coogan 41st.
Some consolation may be found in the fact that former Tampa Bay Downs groom Ronnie Holassie, running for Trinidad and Tobago, took 32nd in 2:19:26 in Sydney.
He was with the lead group through 15K.
One hundred runners started the men's marathon; 81 finished.
Sept. 30, Brooksville
Additional Pinellas County finishers
15. John Wood, Seminole, 4:42:31; 19. Gordy Hawkins, Madeira Beach, 4:58:13; 21. Mike Barber, Clearwater, 5:10:45; 23. Warren Nelson, Palm Harbor, 5:18:00; 26. Bert Tegge, Palm Harbor, 5:34:14; 27. Bill Castleman, St. Pete Beach, 5:39:05; 33. Ray Goetz, St. Petersburg, 5:58:03.
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