SPB Classic: It’s No Ordinary Race 

For those who prefer their sunrise selfies from the beach or their bed, the 5K race kicked off with a 9 a.m. start time. Participants from ages 1 to 98 picked up the pace after the kids’ race Saturday morning. The youngest finishers who placed in the top three were Abigail Angell and Evan Phelps, both 7, from St. Pete. Angell finished with a time of 41:25. Phelps with an incredible time of 23:28. The oldest, or wisest of the top three finishers were Betty Bond, 81, from Lombard, IL who came in at 58:27, and Ross McKie, 82, from St. Pete, who finished in 49 minutes. 

Saturday morning, under the glow of the starting line, out in front of the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center on St. Pete Beach, the chatter started early. Just before the countdown for the St. Pete Beach 10K race began, chattering teeth and shaking limbs were in abundance, either from the chilly wind or shaky nerves. 

The first group to run on Saturday morning were huddled together and took off precisely ay 7 a.m., led by Mayor Al Johnson in the lead vehicle. The flat terrain that Florida provides is a favorite for runners, helping many to break personal bests. 

Over the two-day event, 2,000 runners of all ages, races, shapes and sizes were signed up to participate, with 500 volunteers supporting the show.  

“This race can’t happen if it weren’t for the volunteers,” said John Hollenhorst, expo coordinator. “It’s nice to pitch in and help out.”

When runners were asked “Why do you do this?” many different reasons were given: some do it for health, some for bragging rights, some for friends and family. 

“We’re here for our son Ryan – he’s training for a 100-miler,” said proud parents Janine and Robert Nolan from Dunedin. “Over the past year he’s gone from 260 pounds to 160 pounds. He’s caught the bug for it.” 

Ryan finished in sixth place out 557 runners for Saturday morning’s 10K, with a time of 38:09.  

Unlike many races that end as soon as runners cross the finish line, the St. Pete Classic doesn’t stop there. A whole weekend of events was planned for participants to “run on the streets, party on the beach,” as the tagline stated. Saturday evening a concert, featuring Big Brother Band, a party and beach bonfire were held behind Rum Runners.

Unlike many races that end as soon as runner cross the finish line, the St. Pete Classic doesn’t stop there. A whole weekend of events was planned for participants to “run on the streets, party on the beach,” as the tagline stated. Saturday evening a concert, featuring Big Brother Band, a party and beach bonfire were held behind Rum Runners. 

Fifteen little tykes took to the streets in the five- to six-year-old race category. They donned race tees far toolarge, “number one” race bibs and started off the run with a bang. It didn’t quite go off without a hitch as a few stumbled and tumbled to the pavement as the horn blew. Those who persevered were met at the finish line by proud parents and St. Petersburg’s beloved sport mascots, DJ Kitty and Raymond of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and Pete the Pelican of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team.

Over the two-day event, 2,000 runners of all ages, races, shapes and sizes were signed up to participate, with 500 volunteers supporting the show.  

 

 

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