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Navarre Beach races draw GWTC runners

Tim Unger

GWTC was well represented at the Navarre Beach 5k/10k/half marathon Jan. 8. I was very impressed with the start/ finish staging area provided by the Holiday Inn's "Holidome" for this event. When we first entered the "dome" we found a very well prepared structure large enough to handle an event with over a thousand competitors. The first thing I noticed was the GWTC club banner proudly displayed on a fourth floor balcony. Club banners from the Birmingham Track Club, Pensacola Runners Association, Northwest Florida Track Club, Pensacola Sports Association, and the Bayside Boozers ringed the area where a huge party was planned. It was obvious that a lot of planning had been done because the whole event was very well organinzed.

The course for all three races was out and back using the main East-West island roads. The races all started together in a massive two lane jailbreak. By the end of the first VERY downwind mile about a dozen runner's held a 5:20 pace. At the two mile mark we were at 10:40 but only three of us remained to lead the longer races as the 5k had already turned. During the next mile to the 10k turnaround we took turns with the lead. I realized I was somehow managing to hang with Everett Whiteside and surmised he must be running the half. We spoke briefly about the great conditions for the day and Everett sped by the 5k marker in 16:50 on his way to a 1:10:26 half (5:23 average). WOW! I felt privileged to have been able to run along with those guys trying to tear up the half, but the feeling ran out very quick when I made the turn in the 10k lead against a very strong wind and pretty well all used up. A biker soon picked me up as the leader and brought Shawn Patterson (one of the Niceville CC seniors) with him.

After we watched the majority of the half marathon finish, including Jeff Bowman's excellent 1:26:46 as GWTC's top finisher, we proceeded to the party area where they had a very loud rock band set up with plenty of fluids. (lotsa beer!) Other GWTC Award winners at Navarre in the 10K were Janice Hochstein, Female Masters winner, 42:09; Mike Hochstein, age group winner, 45:48; Terry Presnell, age group winner, 39:51; Ann Bowman, age group winner,50:01; Bill De Grummond, 4th in age, 59:30. GWTC award winners in the 5k were James Dexter who won his age group by 4 seconds in a close battle, 20:11; Joe Dexter won the runner's up age group award in 20:17; and Lisa Dapko ran a 25:17 PR good enough for 4th in age group; and Nadine Dexter ran a 27:40 PR.