Bondarenko, Nordheim and Wiedeman set the pace for Saturday’s St. George Island Sizzler and Fun Run hosted by the Tate’s Hell Track Club.
Participants commented that the weather was indeed sizzling this year with temperatures in the 90s and no cloud cover. The race started an hour earlier than usual.
Fourteen runners turned out for the Fun Run, a mile-long warm up to the scorching main event. Daniel Wiedeman, 13, of Wakulla got his first win ever with a time of 6:48. This was the third ever race for the lanky young runner. Good job Daniel!
The top four runners in the One Mile Fun Run were Daniel Wiedeman; Lindsey Rykard, age 15, 7:16; David Miller, 10, 7:27; and Joseph Wiedeman, 9, 8:10.
More than 220 runners signed up for the Sizzler. This year’s youngest runner was 7-year-old James Watson. The oldest competitor in the race was James Varley, 74.
Many were visitors who registered on impulse when they heard about the Sizzler. Not so Polina Bondarenko, 14, of Chicago. Her family planned their vacation so she could compete. Bondarenko said this was her third year running in the Sizzler. She won the women’s division with a time of 20:24 and took ninth place overall. She beat her time last year by 1:03 but that was enough.
Bondarenko said she began running competitively at age 5 and frequently competes, but running is not her main athletic focus.
The sleek sophomore is a swimmer and is ranked 20th in the state of Illinois. She began swimming at age 4. Bondarenko said she competes as a swimmer every other weekend.
When she isn’t running, swimming or studying, her hobbies are reading and drawing. Her advice to other athletes, “Don’t give up. Keep going and push through.”
This year’s overall winner with a time of 18:04 was Carl Nordheim, 51, a member of the Atlanta Track Club. This was his third time competing in the Sizzler. He ran here for the first time in 2006 and again in 2010. Nordheim said he began running competitively at age 13. He has competed in roughly 15 races a year for 40 years.
Nordheim said he particularly likes the Sizzler because of the island’s flat terrain and the shared meal that follows the competition. “Running is my passion,” he said. “My advice to anyone is come out and run it.”
The top 10 runners in the 2014 Sizzler were Nordheim; Bryce Cole, 16, 18:22; Joel Piotrowski, 44, 18:42; Albert Smythe, 17, 18:59; Nikita Bondarenko, 19, 19:41; Philip Sura, 44, 19:56; Travis Parks, 18, 19:57; Michael Martinez, 48, 20:12; Polina Bondarenko; and Chance Logan; 17, 20:34.
In spite of the very hot weather, island Fire
One reason for the lack of health issues among runners was careful planning and placement of water along the course.
Several volunteers expressed concern that the road was not closed during the meet. Runners had to contend with automobile traffic especially along the stretch of
After the last runner crossed the finish line, participants and their companions were treated to a low county boil prepared by Pat Kelly and listened to music provided by Debi
The Sizzler is known for its unique ceramic trophies. This year the brightly colored images of a running shoe were created by Anne Eason. Proceeds from the Sizzler and Fun Run benefit the Franklin County Humane Society.
For a complete list of winners, visit www.apalachtimes.com