Emerging from a menagerie of competitors costumed to varied degrees or not at all, John Davis and Kaitlin Donner claimed overall victories in Saturday’s Ghostly Gecko 5K.
Davis, 38 of Melbourne, outraced 1,237 finishers to win in 16 minutes and 33 seconds while Donner, 27, of Melbourne, finished seventh overall in 17:47 to capture the overall female laurels in downtown Eau Gallie.
The victory was the first in the 2016-2017 Running Zone Foundation Race Series for Davis while Donner recorded her third victory in three races in the seven-event competition.
Shane Streufert, 44, of Viera, took Male Masters honors in 17:12 for his third victory in three starts. Julie Hannah, 42, of Melbourne, captured the Female Masters crown in 20:05 for her second triumph in two starts.
Streufert is the defending overall series champion, Donner is the defending overall women’s champion and Hannah is defending her 2015-2016 Female Masters championship.
“So far my season hasn’t been that great but I’m building towards the Space Coast Half marathon and hope to be in pretty good form by then,” Streufert said.
The Ghostly Gecko team victory went to Team Running Zone comprised of Donner, Steve Hedgespeth, Jonathan Howse, Joe Lento and Alison Nolan. Their combined time of 1:30:12 outpaced Viera Pizza comprised of Davis, Streufert, Michael Fisher, Keith Snodgrass and Cristina Canales (1:33:36). The Has Beens of Chi Cam, Bryan Sims, Art Anderson, Michele Longstreet and Lance Haskins were third in 1:43:04. Thirty-one teams took times.
School honors went to Indian Harbour Montessori with 31 participants. Westside Elementary had a turnout of 23 and Manatee Elementary eight. A total of 98 participants represented 19 schools.
Christopher Daniele, 18 of Punta Gorda was second to Davis in 16:43 while Hedgespeth, 38, of West Melbourne was third in 16:56. Angela Cobb, 33, of Melbourne Beach was second to Donner in 18.29 while Nolan, 27, of Indialantic was third in 18:41. Davis didn’t formally costume up, choosing the standard Florida warm weather racing uniform of shorts and no shirt. Donner dressed as the Little Mermaid while her sidekick dog Roxy was costumed as Sebastian the Crab.
For Donner the triumph continued a Space Coast race winning streak that dates so far back she has lost track of its beginning.
Donner is taking a break from her professional triathlete career, choosing to concentrate on her work as a physical therapist – she has a doctorate from the University of Florida – before resuming competition in 2017.
“The Running Zone races serve a dual purpose,” Donner said. “They give me the opportunity to race in my home county with a wonderful group of friends and fellow competitors and they help me build my base as I build toward next season.
“Running Zone does such a great job with the series and my two favorite races, Ghostly Gecko and Jingle Bells on the streets of my hometown of Satellite Beach where I began my career as a runner.”
Next up in the series is the Dec. 17 Jingle Bell 2 Miler which starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Satellite Beach Library. For complete information visit www.runningzone.com/series/jinglebell2miler