Tampa, FL. – Lakeland, Florida’s Jon Mott captured his third GASPARILLA Distance Classic 15K title this morning, touring the flat, Bayshore Blvd out-and-back course in 47:01. In the process, he took the measure of friend, former college teammate, and defending champion Austin Richmond by 11 seconds on a warming Tampa day.
“I executed my plan perfectly,” said 31 year-old Mott after his third GASPARILLA win. “I sat back early and let them duel. Then at the turnaround (25:00) I began pressing. Over the last three miles it was just me and AJ, and I was listening to his breathing. I didn’t do anything in the last four miles, just held 4:58 pace.”
AJ Richmond led the race early with Boulder, Colorado’s Matt Hensley. They blew through mile one in 4:57 with Mott and two-time runner up Rafa Matuszczak of Poland three seconds back. By mid-race the four were together before Mott began his push for home.
Both Richmond and Mott had won the Gasparilla 15K twice before on the flat, bayside course where five world records had been set in the early years when the 15K was the featured distance at GASPARILLA. Richmond took the title in 2010 & 2017, while Mott won in 2014 & 2015, and finished second to his Webber International University teammate last year.
The 5k will follow the 15K today as temps soar into the low 80s. Then tomorrow the featured half-marathon, opening race of the 2018 PRRO Road Series, will go off at 6 a.m. before an 8K completes the weekend fitness festival. Over 32,000 strong will stride along Bayshore Blvd. for one of road running’s classic events.
A full report on the half-marathon will come tomorrow. Favorites include 61:01 WCAP Army member Haron Lagat out of Colorado Springs, and 61:44 man Tyler Pennel of Charlotte, N.C. Defending women’s champ Stephanie Bruce of Northern Arizona Elite will battle, among others, Redding, California’s Sara Hall, reigning 2017 U.S Marathon champion.
1. Jon Mott – Lakeland, FL. – 47:01
2. Austin Richmond- Babson Park, FL. – 47:12
3. Matt Hensley – Boulder, co. – 47:47
4. Rafa Matuszczsk – POl. – 48:10
5. RJ Dorazil – Tampa, Fl. – 50:48
1. Paige Howard – Tampa, FL. – 57:15
2. Jacki Wachtel – New Port Richie, FL. – 57:57
3. Christa Stephens – St. Petersburg, FL. – 57:57