Hometown harriers captured honors in the annual Jingle Bell 2-Miler at the Satellite Beach Library on Saturday evening.
Satellite High graduate and Florida Atlantic University sophomore runner Conor Fitzgerald, 19, scored the overall victory in 10 minutes and five seconds, barely nudging second-place Trevor Kattenberg, 17.
Kattenberg, a Satellite High cross country and track runner, finished in 10:08.
Melbourne Beach’s Austin Camps, 17, was third in 10:10 while his brother Garrett Camps, 19, was fourth in 10:20.
“I really didn’t have a solid plan on how I was going to win this race,” Fitzgerald said. “I wasn’t sure how fast the leaders were going to take it out, so I guess I decided it would be best to sit back in the front back for the first mile or so and just move my way up throughout race. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while running at FAU, it’s that pacing is key. My coach always has me go out in the back end of the race, and just continuously pass people throughout the race.
“During the race, the first mile definitely felt harder than the second. I definitely felt the headwind during the first mile, so it felt like I was going a lot faster than I actually was. I think I came through the first mile in about 4:58-5:00, which surprised me at first when I saw it. The way back, though, definitely felt better. The combination of battling for first and having the wind working with you definitely helped motivate me to continue to pick up the pace as much as I could. By the last 800 I started to kick, but lost it with about 400 left and was passed around 200 meters left. I was pretty shocked that I was able to get the lead back between there and the finish because I’ve always been notorious for having a terrible kick at the very end of a race.
“It was definitely a great feeling winning in my hometown. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to win but I guess I’m in better shape than I thought I was. I’ve run through the neighborhoods here in Satellite countless times, so it was an amazing feeling to race through them and win. The whole race was great and I’m very thankful for Running Zone to have hosted it and can’t wait to hopefully do it again next year.”
On the women’s side Satellite High graduate, Melbourne resident and professional triathlete Kaitlin Donner continued her four-year Space Coast unbeaten streak with an easy victory.
Donner, 27, of Melbourne, crossed in 10:42, good for 13th overall. Holly Davis, 21, of Viera was second in 10:58.
Melbourne’s Samantha Folio, 17, was third in 11:34.
Donner’s husband Ed, 40, took the Male Masters victory finishing 11th overall in 10:36.
“I knew Ed was ahead of me the whole time and was gaining on him fast the second half but just ran out of time,” Kaitlin Donner said.
Her effort continued a productive 2016 season.
“I set a 5K PR (personal record) early in the year then the half-marathon PR more recently so it’s hard to be upset with my running this year,” she said. “There were a lot of ups and downs with triathlon, which is my primary focus, so hoping to change a couple things for a better 2017.”
As for running in her hometown: “It’s always great to run in Satellite Beach,” she said. “This year was a little more special since Ed and I will be closing on a condo in Satellite Beach at the beginning of the year. We are both so excited.”
The Female Masters crown went to Melbourne’s Julie Hannah, 43, who finished in 12:29.
The school participation award went to Westside Elementary with 46.
Covenant Christian had 22 and Indian Harbour Montessori 20.
Set Goals Not Limits consisting of Kattenberg, Charlie Dickinson, Walker Hirsch, Luke Dickinson and Ashley Basford won the team title with a time of 54:40.
The Viera Pizza Race Team of John Davis, Ian Reesh, Holly Davis, Michael Fisher and Keith Snodgrass was second at 55:05.
Team Running Zone of Steve Hedgespeth, Kaitlin Donner, Jonathan Howse, Joe Lento and Doug Butler was third at 56:03.
Forty-five teams took times.
A total of 2,079 people registered with 1,786 taking times in the fourth and most festive race of the seven-event Running Zone Foundation Race Series.
Next up is the Feb. 11 Brevard Zoo Komodo Krawl 3K. For complete information visit www.runningzone.com/series