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  • Pinellas competitors mastering marathon

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    Pinellas competitors mastering marathon

    By DAVE THEALL
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 20, 2001

    Another Pinellas masters runner has won a marathon this month.

    The first was Palm Harbor's Jeff Delie, who captured the Hops Marathon title Dec. 2.

    Last Saturday, it was St. Petersburg's Kim Donaldson, 40, winning the women's division in the 19th annual Jacksonville Marathon. She took the lead just after the midway point and finished in 3 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds.

    In humid conditions, Donaldson ran the opening mile in 6:50 and was content to let a group lead with about a 6:40 pace.

    However, after 13.1 miles, the picture cleared. Some runners peeled off since they were doing only the concurrent half-marathon event, leaving two women ahead of Donaldson.

    "I spoke with them briefly then eased away, not looking back and hoping they weren't still right there," said Donaldson, a research scientist for her alma mater, the University of South Florida.

    "After clocking 1:30 for the half," she said, "my goal then was to maintain my lead and break 3 hours for the first time."

    Donaldson's performance -- a 6:53 per-mile pace -- barely missed her goal and a personal record. That stands at 3:01:14, which she ran in Jacksonville in 1999 to earn fifth place.

    "The last five miles were a bit of a struggle," Donaldson said of Saturday's race. "I thought I was maintaining an even pace, but obviously I wasn't.

    "Still, it was a thrill winning since I didn't expect to. And finishing on the spongy track with spectators cheering was exhilarating."

    It wasn't Donaldson's first marathon victory.

    She won the inaugural Ocala Marathon in 1998. Donaldson came out on top in the event again in February (3:06), and she plans to run it next year.

    In January 2000, Donaldson had another near miss with a sub-3-hour performance, running 3:02:13 in the Gulf Beaches Marathon. She finished second to the 2:52:38 logged by Clearwater's Judy Maguire. MORE JACKSONVILLE RESULTS: Mary Ann Protz, Donaldson's training partner among her Forerunners teammates, won the masters division in Saturday's marathon in 3:22:17.

    Linda Crismond, 58, of Palm Harbor won the women's 55-59 division in 4:24:48.

    The half-marathon drew a strong area field. It was headed by Dan Ecker of the Forerunners club. He finished second in 1:18:59, a 6:02 pace.

    Mike Ferreira won (1:22:54) the 35-39 class. Danny Nolan (40-44) took third in 1:25:51, followed by Walt Sieg in 1:41:55.

    Steve Kilpatrick (45-49) finished fourth in 1:34:32, and Frank Spicer (50-54) was fifth in 1:43:14.

    Among the women, Sandy Shelton (1:36:45) and Erin Lynch (1:42:17) placed 1-2 in the 30-34 division. Debra Colbert (1:50:17) finished fifth in the 40-44 bracket, just behind 45-49 runner-up Celene Peters (1:49:06) and ahead of Susan Staffa (1:53:41).

    CROSS COUNTRY: Tony Teats established an early lead at East Lake Woodlands Country Club en route to a victory (16:16) in the 5K On The Fairway.

    Jeff Masterson, 15, of Bayonet Point took second (17:11).

    Kit Van Allan of Palm Harbor ran the same time (19:39) that she did in the Dec. 1 Lakefront Classic, but she got a win instead of finishing third.

    Van Allan, 36, was coming off a ninth-place performance (19:12) in the Wingding 5K on Thanksgiving Day and a fifth-place age-group finish in the Hops Half-Marathon.

    NATIONAL EVENT: The Avon Championship on Dec. 9 in Phoenix included Tampa regional champions Amy Begley and Clearwater's Judy Maguire, the masters division winner.

    Both topped their regional performances. Begley won overall in 33:40 for 10K. Maguire ran 37:04 for 10th place, a 5-second improvement from her time on the USF campus.

    Begley, winner of the NCAA 10K title for Arkansas this spring, earns an expense-paid trip to the Avon International Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, in October, 2002.

    "I plan to move to Arizona (from Indiana) and train in the winter for future competitions, including -- hopefully -- the Olympics," Begley said.

    SATURDAY: The 13th annual Say No To Drugs Holiday Classic from Clearwater's Coachman Park should produce a rare, local sub-30-minute 10K time.

    With only $2,000 total in prize money, the popular event continues to attract a strong field. This time, it will be headed by Kenya's Moses Macharia, who has run the 6.2 miles in the 28-minute range.

    He should be challenged by Tampa's Jim Sellers, who won the 1998 race in 29:52 and last month's Turkey Trot 5K in 15:43.

    Last year's winner in Clearwater, Mike Donnelly of Providence, may not compete in the 8 a.m. event.

    Local contenders for top-five prize money include Mike Griewe of Tampa, Steve Wilcox of St. Petersburg, Brian Scott of Seminole and Jeff Delie of Palm Harbor.

    The women's field will have the top five from last year, including Russians Ramilia Burangulova and Tatiana Titova.

    Maguire was third last time, followed by Beth Godwin of Gainesville and Christy Phillips of St. Petersburg. Laure Blume of Pinellas Park and Tierra Verde's Lisa Valentine should be in the mix.

    A 5K event and 2-mile fitness run will be held simultaneously, followed by an awards breakfast at the Harborview Center.

    COMING UP: The Ultimate Fullunatic 50K, half marathon and 5K are scheduled for Dec. 30 at Pasco County's J.B. Starkey Park. The courses are on flat, sandy trails through the woods and palmetto fields. The 50K starts at 7 a.m.

    For information, call race director Elaine Anthony, 642-4417, in Pinellas Park.

    BEST RUNNERS: The January/February issue of Running Times will rank thetop runners of 2001.

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