It was an all-around naval victory at last month’s Running for the Bay marathon.
Pensacola’s Alexander Clark, a 2019 Annapolis grad, ran a 3:24.38 marathon, his first ever completion in the event, to take home the gold in the Oct. 20 race that drew 47 runners
Stationed at the naval station in Pensacola, where he is in flight school, said the race well. “It was definitely rough when you hit the 23-mile mark around Eastpoint,” he said.
Clark said he hadn’t been a runner in high school, but at the Naval Academy, there’s a lot of physical competition, so everyone’s fitness levels are improved.
Now Clark’s young brother Dex, also an Annapolis grad and now in flight school as well, didn’t run the race, but his sister-in-law, Leah Raffety, married just two weeks ago, was top female in the half-marathon. A physical therapist, she ran cross-country at Northern Illinois, and posted a time in the Apalachicola race of 1:34.52 to finish third overall, about three minutes behind winner Jon Stockton, 35, of Groton, Connecticut, who ran a 1:31:39.
Finishing 36th overall in the half was Nic Kadel, 16, of St. George Island, who ran a 2:08:50 among the field of 147 runners in that race. Finishing 61st was Jeremy Buzbee, 49, of Carrabelle, who ran a 2:16:50.
Raffety said she ran about five or six minutes slower than her best, hampered by the tough track and the fact she’s been busy after getting married.
Melanie Gaffney, 35, of Sarasota, ran a personal record 4:09.25 to take the top female in the marathon.
It was only her second full marathon. “That was a brutal race,” she said. “The first half felt good, with an awesome tail wind, but I knew I’d pay for it coming back.”
A personal trainer, she’s written two young adult novels with her mom, “Night Sky” and “Wild Sky,” and came by herself, her husband, a policemen having to work.
“He cheered me on with text messages,” she said. “He’s my inspiration.”
In the 5K race, local finishers among the 59 runners included in ninth place, Clifford Buell, 65, of Apalachicola, with a time of 28:03; in 25th place, Beth Cumbie, 57, of Carrabelle, with a 35:35; in 26th place, Missy Cumbie, 66, of Carrabelle, with a 36:31; in 29th place, Susan Lamb, 61, of Apalachicola, with a 39:10; and in 31st place, Carly Buell, 31, of Apalachicola, with a 41:57.
In the 10K race, local finishers among the 73 runners, were in fifth place, Timmy Poloronis, 36, of Apalachicola with a 48:15; in 14th place, Will Kadel, 12, of St. George Island, with a 1:01:05; in 18th place, Clint Kadel, 50, of St. George Island, with a 1:02:22; in 43rd place, Shelly Miedona, 53, of Carrabelle, with a 1:17:30; in 44th, Sherry Ware, 50, of Apalachicola, in 1:17:55; and in 60th, Rachel Fogarty, 41, of St. George Island with a time of 1:30:21.
Organizer Mark Henderson said that once the storm passed, the race was excellent.
“The weather was beautiful on race day,” he said, noting that it was the second largest race ever in terms of registration, since last year’s runners, after the race was cancelled fur to the hurricane, all were given free registration.
“We had around 570, but they didn’t all show up,” Henderson said. “ I don’t know how many got scared off because of the weather.”
He praised the work of the Conservation Corps of Franklin's Promise, which receives a donation for all the volunteer labor put in. “They did a great job,” he said.