Coming off an 11-place finish in Friday’s 3,200-meter Florida High School Athletic Association state championship race, Melbourne Beach’s Austin Camps had a plan for Saturday’s Run for the Gecko 5K.
“I planned to run in the front pack for two miles and speed up the last mile,” said Camps, a junior at West Shore Jr./Sr. High. “However that seemed to be everyone in the front pack’s plan so I had to run faster than I thought I would for the last mile.”
The effort paid off as Camps, 17, scored his first Running Zone Foundation Race Series victory, claiming the season-finale Gecko 5K in 16 minutes and 45 seconds.
West Melbourne’s Steve Hedgespeth, 38, was second in 16:57 and West Melbourne’s Michael Fisher, 23, third in 17:25.
Camps’ previous best Gecko finish was third in 2014 when he ran with a cast on his arm.
Saturday was a banner day for the Camps family as Austin’s younger brother Christian, 15, was seventh overall in 18:21; mom Tasha Camps, 45, was 49th overall and second in her age group in 21:41 and dad Mario Camps, 46, was 68th overall and sixth in his age group in 28:29.
“I love running with the boys, even if they leave me in their dust,” said Tasha Camps, an accomplished triathlete and distance runner. “So it was an early Mother’s Day gift.”
Austin Camps responded in kind.
“My parents have been very influential in my running career,” he said. “The best advice they ever gave me is to have a positive mindset no matter how I run.”
Alison Nolan, 26, of Indialantic, was the female winner in 18:36, good for 10th overall. She was followed by Beth Mihlebach, 30, of Melbourne Beach, in 18:49, good for 12th overall, and Melissa Taylor, 38, of Indian Harbour Beach in 19:11, good for 15th overall.
Nolan was the top Brevard County female finisher in April’s Boston Marathon in 3:03:55, her fourth straight finish in the venerable event.
She decided to do Gecko with little time to spare.
“It wasn’t until earlier last week I decided to run the Gecko race,” Nolan said. “My plan was to run conservatively at the start, and then try to keep picking people off and get faster. I thought something around sub-20 would be good enough for the team (Long Doggers) to secure a first-place finish in the series.
“This was the first race I did not wear a watch, so I was happy for the well-marked splits and mats each mile. My teammate Keith Snodgrass was running with Beth Mihlebach ahead of me. I was working to chase them the whole second mile but didn’t catch them until a little over two miles. Beth and I had a good race to the finish.
“I thought Kim (Hunger), or one of the other fast Running Zone girls was still ahead of her, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had finished first overall female. I was very excited knowing the winner got a pair of shoes, too. The after party with cake, champagne and strawberries, and a full breakfast was an added bonus.”
The Male Masters title went to Viera’s Shane Streufert, 44, who crossed in 17:27. Melbourne’s Julie Hannah took the Female Masters title in 19:48.
Team Running Zone of Hedgespeth, Ron Abel, Joe Lento, Mihlebach and Taylor took the team title in 1:31:24. Long Dogger’s Club of Fisher, Streufert, Nolan, Keith Snodgrass and Art Anderson was second in 1:31:52 and The Has Beens of Rob Longstreet, Aidan Montague, Kenny Brodrick, Dean Worm and Dina Viselli were third in 1:41:42. Seventeen teams competed.
The school participation title went to Indian Harbour Montessori with 25, Westside Discovery was second with 20 and Meadowlane third with six.
A total of 863 participants took times.
As a bonus for the first time, participants who did all seven events in the Running Zone Race Series this year received a special finisher medal. Also, the series overall and age group champions will be honored at the annual awards ceremony scheduled for late June.
Contact the store at 321-751-8890 or email email@example.com for complete information.