Black Creek 5K/10K throws hills at area runners

By Randy Lefko
Posted 10/24/18

MIDDLEBURG – Orange Park runner William Saunders signed up for the Black Creek 5K run to get a quick time on a relative flat course.

“They didn’t tell me they changed the course and added …

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Black Creek 5K/10K throws hills at area runners


MIDDLEBURG – Orange Park runner William Saunders signed up for the Black Creek 5K run to get a quick time on a relative flat course.

“They didn’t tell me they changed the course and added hills,” said Saunders, who won the 30-34 age group despite the hills, but with a 23 minute, 25.5 second split. “That was awfully hard. I was shooting for around 20-21 minutes.”

With the 7th annual event adding a 10K (6.2 miles) course to the agenda, race director Michael Patch saw an increase in interest in 2018. The 5K had 330 runners. The 10K had 57 finishers. The race proceeds benefit the David White Memorial Scholarship named after Clay County Sheriff’s Office Detective David White, who was killed in a drug arrest operation in 2012.

“I think the 10K distance will become popular as more hard core runners can get enough distance to make it worth the effort,” said Patch, who noted the David White Scholarship fund has released nearly $65,000 over the past seven years. “The 5K is a more recreational runner fit while going 6.2 miles is a bit more intense for the average runner. We had about 80-85 new faces this year.”

In the 5K, Clay High cross country ace Luke Bybee, 16, battled with previous winner and master’s runner John McColl, 36, of Middleburg, and came out on top with a final surge to win in 19:57.8. McColl was just five seconds behind at 20:04.0 with 13 year old Triston Schultz third at 22:04.5.

In 2017, Bybee was sixth with McColl second to Ridgeview High senior Keith Kelley who won on the “easy” course in 17:48.8.

“I think being near districts in my high school cross country season helped me in the new course,” said Bybee, who will compete Wednesday in the district 4-2A championship race at Ridgeview High School. “John is a strong runner and was tough to shake.”

For the women, Bishop Snyder High Schooler Hannah Johnson, 15, had to battle with another previous winner, Orange Park stalwart Jessica Jewell, 37, with Johnson winning in 22:22.1 to Jewell’s 22:39.1. Anjuli Mars, just 13, finished third in 24:20.8. Johnson outdueled Jewell last year winning the female trophy in 21:17.3. Jewell was top female in 2016 with Johnson third female.

For Jewell, Johnson’s win was okay.

“Time to pass the baton to the younger runners,” said Jewell, a Lakeside Elementary School teacher with numerous age group wins on the Jacksonville running circuit include the 1st Place Sports Grand Prix Series.

Among the 5K runners, Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, 53, finished seventh in this age group in 35:59.3.

In the 10K race, run as a second loop of the treacherous 5K first loop, Middleburg master’s runner George Simcox, 45, donned his best Batman shirt and literally flew cape-free across the finish line to win in 42:36.6 with Peyton Godwin, 53, second in 43:53.2. Zimberlist Hester, 51, outdueled Orange Park’s David Bonnette, also 51, for third by just 16 seconds; 44:51.4-45:07.1 with Middleburg cross country coach Paul Grybb rumbling in in fifth in 45:40.1. Fleming Island master’s runner Sharon Hawley may have ticked off a few seconds on her first female time of 45:41.0 had she not had a warmup run earlier than the 7:30 a.m. race start.

“My husband, Dave, and I woke at 3:30 a.m. to run 15 miles this morning for marathon training,” said Hawley, who is a Boston Marathon veteran and plans on competing in the upcoming Space Coast Marathon in Melbourne. “He opted out of the 10K though.”

Fleming Island High freshman cross country ace Lauren Schaudel, 15, took second in the 10K in 49:18.4 as she readies for her Saturday district 1-4A championship race at Sandalwood High School. Third female was Tracy Dawson, 49, in 52:43.0. Complete results can be found at


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