Course records were shattered during the 19th annual Sizzler 5K on St. George Island Saturday.
Both front runner Mark Leininger, who ran it in 15:10, and runner-up Stan Linton, who finished in 15:20, broke the men’s record of 15:16 set by Lee Willis in 2002.
First place female Dylan Hassett, who said she and Leininger were teammates in college, beat the women’s record of 18:39, set by Kara Newell in 2006, by 1:20, as she finished with a time of 16:59.
Race organizer Hobson Fulmer attributed the new records to “favorable weather and talented runners.”
He said Linton ran cross-country for Florida State University.
Hassett, who ran cross country for the College of William and Mary, finished fourth at the NCAA Championships in 2014 and qualified for the United States Olympic Trials in January of this year. She and Leininger have both been chosen for the ASICS Greenville Track Club Elite, a post-collegiate team in partnership with the Greenville (South Carolina) Track Club that competes in national championships, qualifications for the US Olympic Trials and regional and local running competitions, while living and working in the Greenville community.
Leininger ran cross country for American University. The pair said they were on the island vacationing when they learned of the race.
This year’s lineup included some unusual entries. Newlyweds Stephanie and Scott Morris ran together in the 5K after celebrating their nuptial vows Saturday morning at Lafayette Park. The words “just married” were stenciled across the back of their t-shirts. Stephanie said they originally planned to marry in October but moved the date forward so they could participate in the race.
Enn Pomerlean, of Leduc, Alberta, who ran here on Saturday, is attempting to run a race in every state and Canadian province. So far she has completed in 28 races over five years but ramped up her efforts over the last two years. She and husband George drove down from Georgia, where they are visiting their daughter, to compete on the island. She said she sometimes runs with George and sometimes with her sister.
“My husband wasn’t retired and I wanted something to do,” said Enn. “Every race is different. I keep a journal of the runs.”
She said she plans to run a course in Alabama next Saturday.
Fulmer said he was very pleased with the event which has grown since its debut in 1998 when about 70 runners competed.
This year 145 ran in the 5K, and 25 competed in the One-Mile run. The youngest runner was Jackie Berrios, 3, who competed in the One-Mile run. The oldest was Bill Degrummond, 82, who competed in the 5K.
Fulmer said many of the runners say they plan their vacations around the Sizzler so they can compete during their visit to the island.