Looking Back on 2009: Part Two

Over the first three months of 2009, the Lake Monroe Roadkillers were off to a great start to the running year. With the marathon season mostly completed, local 5K’s and 10K’s would become the focus for most of our runners.

On April 4,
Jeremy Davidson, “GPS” Jim Masters and April “Shortcut” Darrow each won hardware at the Run for SPARC 5K in beautiful Ponce Inlet. April 18 was a proud day in Roadkiller history, as our group won the Team Division championship at the Spirit of the Y 5K in Lake Mary. OK, so it’s not quite a world-class running event, but we’ll take what we can get. The team was led by Davidson’s first-place overall finish, which came after he ran off-course and re-gained the lead in the final mile. “Young” Daniel McCarthy showed flashes of the speed that would eventually provide one of his best 5K racing seasons, with a third-place overall finish. Bob “Skippy” Darrow, meanwhile, barely missed out on age group hardware and somehow, was shut out of the team awards, too. He’s vowed to get even someday...

Of course, marathon season wasn’t
completely finished. Mike “Fly T” Baron represented the Roadkillers at the 113th Boston Marathon. Baron posted a solid 3:22 finish on the famous course.

Did we mention Young Daniel’s stellar 5K racing performances this year? On May 2, McCarthy won the Masters Division at the No Boundaries 5K in Altamonte Springs, in 17:44. It was the first of five sub-18:00 5K’s for McCarthy in 2009.

May 16, 2009 will be remembered by Roadkillers for years to come. At the inaugural Jim Payne Blue Ribbon 5K in historic downtown Sanford, temperatures were in the upper 80’s and the humidity was sweltering. The race began at 6:00 p.m., with a West-facing finishing stretch that had runners sprinting towards the blazing, setting sun for the final mile. Fun times.

Craig Dixon and Davidson managed to break 18:00 in the heat, while McCarthy came in seventh overall, in 18:17. Despite the uncomfortable weather, it was the largest race turnout of Roadkillers to date. Eleven members of our club raced in the 5K with six runners winning their age group!

Seven club members then raced in the Lake Mary 5K, held on May 30. McCarthy maintained his form with a 17:45 finish to win another Masters Division title.
Elliott Strouse, Jim Masters, Brett Blackadar, Diana Hampel and April Darrow also won their age groups! The Roadkillers were on a roll.

Local races were becoming fewer and far between as summer settled in over Central Florida. Two Roadkillers competed in out-of-town races this month. Davidson placed second in a 10K during a visit to Northern California, and Hampel earned first-place overall female honors at a 5K on her native Long Island.

Yes, the “Summer of Speed” had arrived. Races were scarce, yet several Roadkillers dutifully ran speedwork and tempo workouts every week. By August, the hard work paid off with strong performances in the JCC “Beat the Heat” 5K in Maitland - an annual Roadkiller favorite.

The Thursday evening event was almost called off due to severe thunderstorms covering the area, but race organizers waited it out and runners were rewarded with another great race. Davidson set a 5K PR in 17:15 while McCarthy continued his hot streak with a 17:52 finish.
Mike “T Dog” Scures and Strouse also braved the conditions to finish in the top 25 overall.

On August 15, the Celebration of Running 5K kicked off the fall racing season in Central Florida and the next edition of the Track Shack Grand Prix series. Mike Baron won his age group - no small feat in this competitive race - and suddenly found himself in position to win his age group for the Grand Prix series. He’s still working on it...

But enough about these other, minor races. The real highlight for Roadkillers came on August 27, with our club’s premier competition: the
Run for the Hill of It! The nine-mile(ish) race, held on the infamous Hill Course in DeLand, provided a real test of fitness and plenty of fun, too.

Mark Newman, who had been quietly building fitness over the summer, proved his mettle by winning the race ahead of McCarthy, local Mike Mott and “Man Pants” Danny Fritz. In his school years, Newman was a national-class track & field athlete in his native U.K., but we’re sure this is the highlight of his running career! Right, Mark? You can read more about the RFTHOI and Newman’s 2009 victory here. After the race, in keeping with Roadkiller tradition, a new club president was named over pizza and beer at Angelina’s. Jason “Half Empty” Van Meter was appointed to the high office, seceding McCarthy.

By September 2009, racing season was in full swing again, and a few Roadkillers started ramping up their training for fall and winter marathons. Stay tuned for the final installment of our 2009 recap and we’ll look back at the final months of another great year for the Roadkillers!