Tag: Gasparilla Distance Classic


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.

Jon Mot opens wining margin on defending champ Austin Richmond in Mike 8 as early pacesetter Matt Hensley of Boulder, Co. fades in third.

“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.

Jon Mott takes third GASPARILLA 15k title

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

Legacy runner Tom Singletary of Tampa completes his 41st GASPARILLA.




Sitting in 27c on the aisle with a nice magazine-reading lady on the window. The stream of fellow travelers continue to board the flight for Houston. I chat with one of the flight attendants about general passenger comportment, as she tells tales of one lady too persnickety to accept help in placing her roller bag in the overhead bin. It’s this way with air travel these days, fun for those that don’t do it.

So I’m just waiting for the final section 5 boarders, hoping for someone small and quiet to fill 27b, the middle seat. Then, magically, the head attendant announces over the PA that the front door has closed and locked, and “please direct your attention the TV monitors for an important safety demonstration.”

My row-mate and I glance over at one another with a sly grin betraying our feelings.

“You believe this?” We bump fists. “Here I was hoping for someone small and quiet, and instead we get vacant and non-corporeal.”

Travel as those of only a certain age can remember. Before air travel began to resemble bus travel. Now if only the young guy in front of me in 26c doesn’t lay back into my sternum, I may remember this United flight fondly.













Tampa, FL. – The Gasparilla Distance Classic began 40 years ago when what came to be known as the first Running Boom ushered in an era of personal fitness that we still see in full swing today.

In its first year Tampa city fathers invited Boston’s Bill Rodgers to the Gasparilla 15K as he was elevating himself to iconic status, already owning one Boston and two New York City Marathon titles, while holding the American marathon record from Boston 1975 (2:09:27).

Bill came to Tampa in `78 to tune up for his second Boston win two months later. That victory by the reigning King of the Roads put Gasparilla on the map, and it soon became the season opener for every great road racer worth his or her salt from around the world. (more…)


GasparillaTampa, FL. — Certainly, I’ve been a critic over the years of the sport’s de-emphasis on competition in favor of fun-running and charity fund-raising, likening that trend to America’s de-emphasis on education in favor of grade-inflation and child buttering.  Jerry Seinfeld did a great bit Tuesday night on Jimmy Fallon’s second night as Tonight Show host on this topic, saying, “when we were young our parents didn’t give a damn about us.  They didn’t even know our names!”

But history isn’t linear, and pendulums have a habit of sweeping back in the other direction.  Thus, a quick survey of recent moves in the sport lead to a conclusion that competition is once again being noticed, even appreciated, and highlighted.

This weekend I am here in Tampa for the return of the Gasparilla Distance Classic to the ranks of pro racing. It’s the first time Gasparilla has invited a pro field to the streets of Tampa since 1997. And its a welcome return to what traditionally had been the best field of the year during the 1980s and `90s when Gasparilla was the first race of the year and everyone was anxious to get out of the cold and into Florida for a blistering 15K burnout. This year it will be a pro half-marathon with an American based field, which I will break down after talking with the athletes as they assemble. (more…)