Costume or not, and in this case not, Chris Cacciapaglia continued his mastery of the Running Zone Foundation Race Series.
Cacciapaglia, 25, of Melbourne, the defending series overall male champion, turned the Oct. 24 Ghostly Gecko 5K into his personal trick or treat winning by 36 seconds. Cacciapaglia, who crossed in 15 minutes and 39 seconds, has won every series race he has entered.
The same could be said for Ghostly Gecko’s overall female winner Kaitlin Donner, 26, of Melbourne, who won while dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, something she definitely wasn’t with a 26-second margin, crossing in 18 minutes.
In total 1,192 runners, walkers, strollers and Halloween celebrants took times in one of the Space Coast’s most popular races.
“The numbers were terrific and that means this race is growing,” said race director Denise Piercy who donned a witch costume. “We’d love it to grow because it is so much fun.”
John Davis, 37, of Viera and Troy Smith, 14, of Rockledge were second and third overall in 16:15 and 16:26 respectively.
For Cacciapaglia Ghostly Gecko was a means to an end.
“I am just starting to figure out training for this years Boston Marathon,” he said. “It was really tough last year (2:40.33 for 295th place overall) and I would like to get some more miles in and really prepare myself. Other than that I have just been training with the Florida Tech cross country team, they are a fantastic group that really wants to push themselves and its always great to be around people that are passionate about working to do their best. It really is a contagious attitude and a great atmosphere to train in. I’m hoping to push my times down this season some more, but I don’t care if its in a 5K or marathon.”
Sara Trane, 30 of Satellite Beach and Beth Mihlebach were second and third behind Donner in 18:21 and 19:07 respectively.
Ghostly Gecko was a bit of a challenge for Donner who was coming off a one-week off season from her professional triathlete career.
“This is the first year in a while that I took a true off season and did not run, bike or swim for over a week after my last race,” said Donner who is competing for a spot on the U.S. 2016 Summer Olympics Games team.
“I have been active but nothing structured: Riding my mountain bike a lot, scuba diving in Cozumel, kayaking, paddle boarding and working at Titusville CORA. The race was exactly what I expected based on lack of speed work, but I couldn’t miss dressing up with my dog Roxy.”
Masters victories went to Viera’s Shane Streufert, 43, and Tracy Dutra, 42, of Melbourne in 17:21 and 19:51 respectively.
Cacciapaglia and Davis paced Long Doggers Club to the team title, joining Streufert, Trane and Michael Fisher to post a combined time of 1:24:35.
Team Running Zone of John Cacciatore, Steve Hedgespeth, Kaitlin Donner, Joe Lento and Jonathan Howse was second in 1:29:52.
Third was Health First of Chi Cam, Randy Dowdy, Steven Baker, Robert Lenoci and Jenny Tagg in 1:41:26.
Twenty-nine teams took times.
Indian Harbour Montessori (23), Divine Mercy Chargers (11) and Audubon Elementary and Holland Elementary School (both with 7) topped the school competition. A total of 70 students participated from 15 schools.
The next Series race is the Dec. 19 Jingle Bell 2 Miler at the Satellite Beach Library. Visit www.runningzone.com/series for complete information.
“I’m planning to run the Jingle Bell, I do absolutely love running through my hometown,” said Satellite Beach native Donner.