Running far enough ahead of the field to truly experience "the loneliness of the long-distance runner," Stanley Linton won the inaugural Dead Lakes Gator 10K on the roads outside of Wewahitchka on Saturday morning, June 30.
Linton's time for the 6.2-mile race was 39:55. Tallahassee Judy Alexander was the first female and the fastest master in the 10K, placing fourth overall in 46:40. Male master honors went to Paul Plazarin of Blountstown, who was fifth overall in 48:14. Wewahitchka's Billy Naylor won the concurrent 5K race in 17:43, with Brian Corbin of Tallahassee taking top master honors in the short race with a third-place 19:30. Natalya Miller was the first woman in the 5K, running 20:48.
The Wewahitchka High School cross-country team can't be faulted for lack of ambition when it came to hosting the Dead Lakes Gator Run. The first year event included three races: a 10K, a 5K, and a one-mile fun run. The two longer races were started at 8:00 am CT from Gaskin Park, east of Wewahitchka on the Apalachicola River.
On the out-and-back course, recent Wakulla High alumnus (c/o 2012) Stanley Linton took the lead right away. Then former Wewahitchka High (c/o 2009) distance runner Billy Naylor closed the gap. What appeared to be developing into an exciting race, though, disappeared at two and a half kilometers as Naylor abruptly turned around and headed for home--he was running the 5K, while Linton was running the 10K. Linton continued on, pursued at an ever-growing distance by Thomas Howell of Blountstown High and Gauge Combs of Wewahitchka. Linton finished the race casually, pausing to chat with runners in the 5K field. 800 meters behind Linton, Thomas Howell maintained his lead over Gauge Combs to take the runner up spot, 43:23 to 44:07.
The women's race developed similarly. Natalya Miller set the pace early, but she was in the 5K, and when she turned around at two and a half kilometer it became clear that Judy Alexander was leading the women in the 10K. Alexander crossed the finish line over a kilometer ahead of the next two female runners, Doni Lanier and McKenna Waters of Wewahitchka, both with the same time of 52:06. Hanna Plazarin of Blountstown High was fourth in 54:50.
Top Ten Men, 2012 Dead Lakes Gator 10K
39:55 ~ Stanley Linton (M, 18)
43:23 ~ Thomas Howell (M, 16)
44:07 ~ Gauge Combs (M, 17)
48:14 ~ Paul Plazarin (M, 42)
49:31 ~ Alexei Veras (M, 36)
49:39 ~ Josh Epps (M, 17)
50:15 ~ Jim Heberle (M, 54)
50:44 ~ Dan Walsh (M, 48)
54:57 ~ Ben Hall (M, 35)
56:22 ~ William Zahler (M, 70)