St. George Island’s annual 5K Sizzler marked its 20th anniversary Saturday, and while the county humane society bid its goodbyes to its marquee fundraiser since 1997, the race shall live on.
Eastpoint veterinarian Dr. Hobson Fulmer, who has grown the race over the years into one of the area’s premier attractions, offered pre-race instructions to the 150 or so registrants, just before the siren from a sheriff’s cruiser launched the runners on their way.
Two Tallahassee-area runners, attracted by the Sizzler’s well-earned reputation, paced the field to top the men’s and women divisions.
For Ryan Slyter, 27, of Crawfordville, his winning time of 17:45 was 31 seconds better than his time last year, but 55 seconds slower than his personal best, mainly because the last half of the race, without the aid of a cooling breeze, is truly a sizzler.
“It’s killer, so killer your head starts to get loopy,” said Slyter, a transplant from St. Michael, Minnesota who works as forest supervisor for the Lake Talquin State Forest.
Slyter said the heat sapped some of his ability to kick in his reserves in the final stretch, but he showed he had more than enough for the win..
He said his regimen consists of running intervals every Tuesday at Florida State, 12 400s and six 800s, and a long run on Sunday, and on Thursday. Plus he loves mountain biking.
In the case of Kat Sack, 25, of Tallahassee, her Saturday began with a personal best 19:37 at the Bushwhacker 5K in Pensacola.
But she wasn’t done, so she drove with a friend to the island for the evening race, where she was top female with a time of 20:21.
“I said to myself ‘It’s hot, but I’m doing this, definitely,” she said. “I just knew the finish line was going to get there sooner or later.”
A high school cross country runner in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she then took “a four-year drinking break I like to call college,” at FSU, Sack joked.
The software developer picked up running again at age 22 and has been at it ever since. She ran as a member of Tallafasties, where the “momma” member Paula O’Neill, ran the Sizzler as well.
Running the race were several local runners, including four member of the cross-country high school team, coached by Kati-Morgan Hathcox.
Top finisher was senior Simon Hodgson with a time of 19:41. His teammate Genevieve Printiss had a 25:15. Sixth grader Averie Pharr posted a 34:00, while eighth grader Marlee Tucker had a 30:11, besting her personal record by a minute-and-a-half.
Next year’s race will be sponsored by the Elder Care Community Council of Franklin County, Inc., which is chaired by Fulmer’s wife Bonnie.