As odd as it sounds, with this year’s St. George Island Sizzler, it paid to be later rather than earlier.
After organizers decided to move the race from its traditional place on the calendar in late June, and put it in August, they found out last Saturday that they had a record field, of more than 275 runners in the 5K, and another 30 in the one-mile Fun Run.
So now, it looks like race organizer Hobson Fulmer is looking to have the race moved to August, when rooms on the island are more easily obtainable, and visitors like the idea of a summer-ending respite by the sea.
With balmy weather and a gentle breeze, this year’s field of 278 set a blistering pace.
Stanley Linton, an 18-year-old Wakulla High School graduate, had boasted on Facebook that he would break the course record, set by Lee L. Willis a few years back.
Linton, now at Florida State, ended up running a 16:36, far better than the times in recent years, under blistering hot skies.
“It’s not a personal best, but it’s a pretty good time for this race,” he said.
After a 5:01 first mile, Linton was overtaken about a half-mile later by 33-year-old Vince Molosky, an environmental consultant from Tallahassee.
Molosky took command the rest of the way, and ended up finishing 10 seconds ahead of Linton, for the crown.
“I’ve taken a lot of the summer off, so this was faster than I expected,” said Molosky, a veteran runner of longer races, anywhere from 30 to 50 kilometers.
“It’s cooler than it usually is for this race,” he said. “I’ll take it.”
Molosky ran in high school in Amherst, Ohio, and then cross country for Bowling Green State University. He joked that he has veered off the mark in past races, getting confused as to turns, but this time he was spot on.
“I stayed on course today,” he said.
The race turned out to be a family affair from one set of seven visitors, Steve Baczewski, and daughter Sarah; Paul, David and Debbie Baczewski, Rose Capasso, and Robert Brown, from as far as South Carolina, South Florida and Tallahassee.
In the end, Sarah edged out her dad, by seven seconds, running a 25;15., while Rose, with a 43:26, finished just ahead of Paul, 12-years her junior, to finish in 256th place.
Winning the Fun Run, was Franklin County Middle Schooler Matthew Turner, who ran it in 7:24, nine seconds ahead of 11-year-old Samantha Woolcock, from Oil City, Penn. She beat her brother and two cousins, who are also on vacation.
John’s Run-Walk Shop once again handled timekeeping duties, while Fulmer handled the decorated oyster medallions that participants won, and Ann Eason the ceramic plates for the top winners.
The crowd of runners at Lighthouse Park proved to be so large that they used up the race’s allotment of dinner tickets, a testament to the race’s growing popularity as it enters it 16th year.