Sunday, February 27, 2011

Records at Gasparilla Half Marathon


Course records fell in Sunday morning's Gasparilla Half Marathon as Tampa's Elias Gonzalez and Jessica Crate of Satellite Beach captured the overall titles of the 13.1-mile race through Tampa.

Gonzalez, a two-time winner of the Gasparilla 15k, led wire-to-wire in the men's race to cross the finish line in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 9 seconds. That eclipsed the previous event record by 31 seconds. Gonzalez is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and has served overseas in Iraq, where he continued to train.

Taking second in the men's race was a masters runner, 40-year-old Hector Rivera, who stayed within striking distance of Gonzalez much of the race before fading in the final two miles to finish in 1:12:13. Jon Noland, 36, of Tampa, was third 1:13:03.

Crate, a former standout for Florida State University now working for a non-profit organization that donates shoes and clothing for the needy, was also unchallenged for the women's crown. She pushed the pace from the outset, dropping defending champion Terri Rejimbal of Tampa early and cruising to victory in a personal best of 1:20:06.

Crate lowered the women's event record by 28 seconds. Third in the women's division was former University of Tampa runner Laura Woznicki (1:21:55).