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By DAVE THEALL
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000
With a Times Turkey Trot feather in her cap and a personal-best 10K time, Christy Phillips is ready for the ultimate challenge.
That is a win Sundayin the Hops Marathon By The Bay in downtown Tampa.
Phillips, 38, a teacher and track coach at Jefferson High School, has good reason to be optimistic after her confidence-building jaunt on Thanksgiving Day morning.
Plus, she turned in a 2:49:12 marathon and was second to Forerunners teammate Lisa Valentine last December in Tucson, Ariz.
In February, at the Women's Olympic Trials marathon in Columbia, S.C., Phillips survived the debilitating heat and long hills for a time of 2:51:14 -- good for 51st in a field of 210 qualifiers. She was seeded 175th.
Then in Boston in April, she led the Forerunners women to a repeat team win with a 23rd-place performance of 2:52:21. Phillips was fifth among American runners and the first Floridian to finish.
Although she isn't sure who her competition will be Sunday whenshe lines up on Channelside Drive at 6:30 a.m., Phillips has her plan set.
"I plan to run in the 6:25 to 6:29 range all the way, an even pace," said Phillips, a former Penn State softball player. "That's my strategy regardless of who's there. If someone wants to take it out faster than that, I'll let them.
"My main concern is the weather, including the wind," she said. "It's suppose to range between 58 and 75 Sunday, and the wind can be fierce along Bayshore Blvd."
Phillips has averaged 80 miles in training the last five or six weeks. She's had to take some time off to rest an injury she suffered just after the Oct.21 Shells Bridge Run 5K, in which she finished 8 seconds behind perennial favorite Judy Maguire of the Dianetics Running Team.
But Phillips won't have to concern herself with Maguire, who has run 2:46:45 at Disney and will be in Phoenix for the Avon Women's Championship.
One potential threat is teammate Laure Blume. She recorded a 3:01:30 in Boston this year but is poised for a major breakthrough after increasing her training mileage. Blume finished second in the Turkey Trot, 37:04.
There may be someone in the field from Lakeland, Atlanta or London who could give Phillips a run for her money.
"I just plan to run my own race and try to get a personal record," Phillips said. "If someone wants to take it out hard, I'll let them. But maybe I'll see them at the end."
In the men's division, Oldsmar's Tony Teats, will try to maintain an even 5:30 per mile pace en route to a sub-2:25 marathon debut.
Teats has won three local races this fall, each 3.1-mile efforts. He ran well in the Turkey Trot, 31:24 for second place, and logged five weeks of 110 miles before tapering.
"I'm just going to run an even pace," said Teats, an Indiana native. "I'll try not to be influenced by rabbits. I'll run my own race, but if it's on the line at the end, I'll pick it up if I have to."
Teats is bouyed by the strong 1:08 half-marathon he completed in Indianapolis two years ago and the fact his training has gone well.
Hops director Susan Harmeling expects 3,000 in the marathon and the two-person relay, and another 1,000 in the 8K. There's no race-day registration.
Age-group favorite: Emery Jewell of Tampa will wear No. 75 on his 75th birthday Sunday as he embarks on twin goals of winning his new age division and qualifying for the 2001 Boston Marathon.
His 70-plus group standard in Boston is 3 hours, 50 minutes, which he nearly eclipsed in Jacksonville last year, compiling a 3:55 in a storm.
Jewell, a retired public school math teacher, is coming off a big age-group win in Sunday's Hidden River Classic 10K. He came from behind to beat friendly rivals Pat Fitzgerald of St.Petersburg and Jim Blount of Bushnell by seconds.
Expo bonus: Runners and fans will have an opportunity to meet marathon world record-holder Khalid Khannouchi (2:05:42) at the Hops Marathon Family Health and Fitness Expo at the Tampa Bay Convention Center.
After running with the kids in Saturday morning's mini events, Khannouchi will speak at the Expo at 2 p.m. and will be signing autographs at the New Balance booth from 3-5 p.m. On Sunday, Khannouchi will welcome the male and female winners by running in from the 24-mile mark with them.
More hidden river: Kathleen Kaye of St. Petersburg won the masters division of the 10K in 39:43.
Kevin Lyons of Palm Harbor took the 5K in 16:09, with Maguire (17:45) capturing the women's title and Lisa Kothe (20:12) masters honors..
Turkey Trot revisited: Ten masters and 50-plus winners have yet to claim their awards. They're urged to call director Skip Rogers, 727-442-5838.
Coming up: The Dec.16 Lansbrook Lakefront Classic 5K offers Florida Panther T-shirts designed by noted artist Ken Hogle of Dunedin.
The Dec.17 Holiday Classic in Clearwater will feature the return of 1998 winner Jim Sellers (29:52) of Tampa. He won the Thanksgiving Day Wingding in 14:58.
The Unafulluna 2000 at Starkey Park in New Port Richey offers a trail 5K, half-marathon and 50K with awards to all finishers. For an entry form, call Elaine Anthony, 962-2826.
Wingding 5K: Joe Costas of Seminole ran the event in 17:48. A different time was reported in a story on Nov.25.