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Record Day at Turkey Trot

Herb Wills, November 24, 2016

“I knew it was tough,” said Stan Linton. “But not how tough.”

United States Navy Ensign Linton was talking about the course of Gulf Winds Track Club’s annual Tallahassee Turkey Trot 15K, run through Southwood on Thanksgiving morning, 24 November 2016. He may have found the course challenging, but Linton was equal to the challenge. Finishing more than a mile ahead of the next runner, Linton won the 9.3-mile race in 47:44, the fastest winning time at the Turkey Trot since 1989. Sheryl Rosen won the women’s title for the seventh time in the last eleven years, placing fifteenth overall in 59:42.

It was Tallahassee’s biggest Turkey Trot yet, with more than 6,100 athletes finishing one of the four races--a mile, a 5K, a 10K, and the headline 15K race. The three longer races were scheduled for a common start at 8:30 AM, but the logistics of getting that many competitors into Southwood proved overwhelming, and the start had to be delayed. After a fifteen minute wait, the races were under way.

Although Linton led the 15K the whole way, he initially trailed the leaders of the 10K and the 5K. That didn’t last. By two miles he had left even the fastest 5K runner behind, and a mile later he was also ahead of everyone in the 10K. After that Linton had the road to himself on his way to a 47:44 win. Chris O’Kelley was second in 54:46. Gary Droze was the fastest master runner in the race and third overall in 55:51.

Things were more competitive on the women’s side. From the start and for most of the race, Sheryl Rosen trailed Allison Eagen. The two knew each other, and not just because they were both former women’s champs of the Turkey Trot.

“Allison and I have been training together,” explained Rosen.

Eagen was more than a hundred meters ahead of Rosen at one point, but Rosen closed the gap late in the race.

“I caught her on the trail by the lake,” said Rosen. “Just short of the eight-mile mark.

Rosen went on to finish as the first woman, running 59:42. Eagen was second in the women’s standings, seventeenth overall in 1:00:49. Kristin Sweeney was the third female finisher and twentieth overall in 1:01:44.

Justin Garrard won the 10K in 32:01, the fastest winning time in the event since Gary Droze went 31:37 at the 1996 Turkey Trot. University of West Florida distance runner Renee Cox was the top woman in the race, placing fifteenth overall in 41:40.

Trevor Touchton was first in the 5K with a 16:02. Katie Sack took the women’s title in the 3.1-mile race, placing 25th overall in a personal best time of 19:48.