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photo of April AndersonCCR April Anderson and her husband, CCR Bruce Hubbard, ran the Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K on February 22. Anderson wanted to try out the competition in her new age group (75-79) and got second out of 32 women, which, because she finished within the top 10 percent of her class, netted her a mug and a doubloon award. There were more than 10,600 participants in the 5K. Anderson’s time was 37:41 (37:01 chip).

She was aiming for something in the upper 35- or at least 36-minute range, but it was too crowded, especially at the beginning. Anderson reported that there were five corrals but (as is often the case) many of the runners did not go into the correct corral for their average speed and just stopped and walked in front of her, congesting the way and slowing her down. Hubbard’s finishing time was 42:57 (42:33 chip), slowed a bit by the same issue.

Anderson says, “I hope I can report a placing in the Shamrock Sports Fest in Virginia Beach. I bought a cool medal hanger with a picture of a long, rural road that says ‘There will be a day when I can no longer do this. Today is NOT that day.’ But, at 75, who knows!”

Arrrrr! CRR Rachel Mroz details her Gasparilla Half Marathon experience, which included nearly 4,200 other finishers:

Escaping the “winter” in Delaware to head to sunny Florida for a weekend? Sign me up! The Gasparilla Distance Classic is a weekend filled with four races—5K and15K on Saturday and Half Marathon and 8K on Sunday. Runners can opt for challenges by signing up for combos of the races. I just did the half. 

photo of the 2020 Gasparilla Half Marathon medalWhile not part of the Gasparilla pirate festival in Tampa, this race keeps with the pirate theme and has an awesome medal (don’t judge, but I only do races with good medals)! 

The run is very well organized, and the course is pancake flat with views of Hillsborough Bay along Bayshore Boulevard for 80 percent of the course. With the half marathon capped at 6,500 runners, the course never felt crowded. It was my first time doing the race, and I will definitely do it again and maybe try one of the challenges next year. 

The weather was perfect for running—51 degrees at the start with very low humidity. My chip time was 2:37:22 [2:42:41 gun], which I’m happy with, considering (1) the amount of training I put in (not extensive), (2) the stops along the course to take photos (including one with Chewbacca), and (3) just generally taking my time to enjoy the course and the views. Got a shout out from the finish-line announcer who corrected his pronunciation of Newark to “New-ark” as I was crossing the line. 

Runners are allowed to hang out in the Convention Center before the short walk to the start line, so that means a real restroom, a place to top off the phone battery, and a comfortable place to get some pre-race stretching done.

Can’t guarantee the perfect weather for next year, but if you want a super flat, fast course and to escape Delaware for a few days (maybe next year will be snowy?), this is a great race to do.