The 12th annual Boca Grande 5k took place on February 23rd, 2013. A thick fog settled down on the island as 305 competitors assembled at the Boca Grande Community Center for the start of the days festivities. An official announced that this was their largest race gathering ever!
Their community center is the perfect place to hold an event like this. With wide open lawns, rooms for registration, clean bathrooms and an outdoor stage area, it was well suited for this spirited crowd.
The course was a simple out and back consisting of streets that circled around the center of town and a long bike path that lead further up the island. The volunteers included members of the local police and fire departments who kept the vehicle traffic under control.
Upon return the runners took a sharp left into the deep shade of banyan trees as they sprinted for the finish. While the fog brought an eerie background to the run, it was almost pure humidity making it harder for some runners to breathe, myself included. Regardless, the imagery speaks for itself.
As for the competitors - it was 33 year old Michael Gerber of Venice who took the overall win. Michael pinned it from the start, averaging 5:40 per mile with a total time of only 17:34. The women's overall winner was Kasey Snyder, also of Venice, who finished in 21:38.
The youngest competitor in the race was 3 year old Chris Campbell who crossed the line at 53:51. Little Chris went right from learning to walk to running a 5k, imagine where he will be in 10 years? The oldest was 93 year old Reinhold Wezel who finish in just over 1 hour. Amazing!
The most competitive class was the Male 10 to 14 year olds. It was won by 12 year old Justin Thomas of North Port. Justin must have been in full sprint because he was being chased down by John Jones who was only 3 seconds back and Darrell Walters who was only 14 seconds back. In fact the top 7 racers in that class all crossed the line within a 2 minute window.
The largest group was the Female 45 to 49 class which had 19 competitors. It was won by 46 year old Shartrina White who took the top of the podium with a solid 23:39.
Check out this video of runners crossing the line.
I was lucky enough to have my lovely wife with me and she was taking pictures. We have posted them all on Facebook for people to tag or copy at their pleasure.
I was happy to be a part of this race taking 6th in my class and 77th overall. This matched my fastest time and has encouraged me to step up my training for the next date on the calendar.
Here is a video of the race start.