There was nothing sloth-like about the Brevard Zoo’s Sloth Skeddadle 3K with just six seconds separating the top three overall finishers on Saturday, Feb. 13. 

Viera’s Shane Streufert, 44, broke the tape in 9:47.7 followed closely by Melbourne’s Ed Donner, 39, in 9:50.5 and West Melbourne’s Zeke Zauner in 9:53.2. 

The female overall victory went to Kaitlin Donner, who was 11th overall in 10:41.3 to extend her unbeaten streak in Brevard County races into its fourth year. 

The fifth event in the seven-race Running Zone Foundation Race Series saw 1,104 participants take times on a perfect morning. 

Beth Mihlebach, 29, of Melbourne Beach was the second overall woman finisher and 15th overall in 10:58.3. Palm Bay’s Kim Hunger, 35, was third among the women and 18th overall in 11:08. 

Jonathan Howse, 40, of West Melbourne captured the Male Masters victory in 10:39.3. The Female Masters crown went to Julie Hannah, 42, of Melbourne in 11:44.5. 

For Kaitlin Donner, who is in the midst of her final training for the U.S. Summer Olympic triathlon trials, the zoo race was part of the big picture. 

“My training for the day included a few three-mile efforts but I really wanted to run the zoo race so I just used the race as the first part of the workout,” Donner said. “It worked out perfect and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. All of the Running Zone ladies ran super well.” 

Next up for Donner is the season’s first triathlon March 5th in Abu Dhabi. The final trials race is expected to be Yokohama, Japan in April. 

“Training is going really well,” she said. “I am in Clermont full time with the group here and really could not ask for a better training environment and training partners.” 

The day also paid dividends for Donner’s husband Ed. 

“I was pleased to set a PR,” Ed Donner said. “(Michael) Fisher was leading the whole run until about a half mile to go when Shane made his move. I was in fourth or fifth. I ended up making my move . . . but he held strong the whole way and I couldn’t close that gap. 

“I did make a big push at one point a quarter mile out but he heard me and picked it up to the finish. It was a blast racing with Shane and Zeke, since we all train together on weekends.” 

Ed Donner also referenced the big picture. 

“As Kaitlin gets fit so do I since we train together a lot,” he said. “It’s nice to still see gains and PR’s still at 39.  Mostly short faster races for me the first part of the year except the Excalibur 10-miler in a few weeks, Then tri season starts.  Will see where Kaitlin’s training takes me and my fitness.”

For Streufert the shorter distance was the best and part of the larger preparation for a much longer race.

“When we came out of the zoo back onto the gravel road towards the finish area we still had a lead pack of about six of us including Ed,” Streufert said. “At that point I think we had about a half mile left so I made a little surge and was lucky enough to get a little gap on the group.  I think Ed was closing on me at the end so I’m glad it wasn’t a two-mile race.”

As for the longer distance:  “I started training for the Boston Marathon a few weeks ago so that’s my next big race and will be my focus the next couple months,” Streufert said.

Team honors went to Team Running Zone of Kaitlin Donner, Howse, Ron Able, Steve Hedgespeth and Joe Lento in a combined time of 52:26. 

Long Doggers Club of Streufet, Zauner, Michael Fisher, Art Anderson and Alison Nolan was second in 53:19 and The Has Beens of Rob Longstreet, Aidan Montague, Dina Viselli, Keith Moon and Kenny Brodrick were third in 57:38. The top 5 in school participation were Indian Harbour Montessori with 22; Surfside Elementary20; Team Covenant 19; Westside Elementary 19; and Manatee Elementary 12. The next series race is the April 9 Pirate Plunder 2-Miler at Meg O’Malley’s in Downtown Melbourne. The race begins at 6:30 p.m. For complete race and series information visit www.runningzone.com/series.