Head for the hill

5-mile foot race a 25-year tradition on the island

For 25 years, the Marco Island 5-Mile Hill Run has been an event that has crowned winners young and old.

A herd of 163 runners takes off at the starting line on Bald Eagle Drive to set into motion the 25th annual Marco Island 5-Mile Hill Run this past Saturday. Eric Beights took overall honors for the men and Bona Jones was best among the women.

Photo by SANDY WHEELER, Eagle staff

A herd of 163 runners takes off at the starting line on Bald Eagle Drive to set into motion the 25th annual Marco Island 5-Mile Hill Run this past Saturday. Eric Beights took overall honors for the men and Bona Jones was best among the women.

And yes, crowned is the perfect word, because race director Mark McGarity has come up with a royal name for every top winner in the race.

As one might expect, the overall male and female winners are called the King and Queen and on Saturday, the fastest in the men's division again was Lely High graduate Eric Beights, who is now a senior at Princeton University. He has won the race a number of times and his victorious time Saturday morning was 26 minutes, 38 seconds.

"That was not a record, but I changed the course a while back and for the new course, that's a very good time," said McGarity.

The Queen for 2006 was Bona Jones, the noted Estero High runner, who was clocked at 32:54.

A total of 163 runners took part. They traveled a course down Inlet Drive and the race included two trips up Indian Hill.

Eric Beights, formerly of Lely High School and now a senior at Princeton University, didn’t let the terrain get to him Saturday during the 25th annual Marco Island 5-Mile Hill Run. He was best in the field with a time of 26 minutes, 38 seconds.

Photo by SANDY WHEELER, Eagle staff

Eric Beights, formerly of Lely High School and now a senior at Princeton University, didn’t let the terrain get to him Saturday during the 25th annual Marco Island 5-Mile Hill Run. He was best in the field with a time of 26 minutes, 38 seconds.

Second place overall among the men was called the Prince, and that honor went to Rob Strong at 29:35. The third-place Duke was Erich Montoya at 29:54.

Among the women, second place was called the Princess and this year, she was Carolyno Kwambi at 33:15. The third-place Dutchess was Erika Szilagyi-Nogart at 37:56.

Even the winners in the Masters divisions were honored with royal titles.

The Wizard — the fastest among the age 40-49 men Masters — was Al Delgado at 31:21. The age 50-59 Court Jester was Charlie Galloway at 31:42.

Kim Culpepper was fastest among the age 40-49 women Masters at 38:06. As a result, she was named the Sorceress. The age 50-59 Muse was Sue Parks at 33:03.

"Hey, when you have a hill run, you need a King of the Hill and things like that," McGarity said of the royal titles granted each top-division winner. "It just makes the race a little more fun."

One of the unusual winners was just three months old. McGarity named Austin West best in the boys age 9-and-under division with a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes.

"Austin covered the whole distance in a baby carrier pushed by his mother," McGarity said. "I think for much of the five miles, he was out like a light."

From the youngest "competitor" to the oldest, the event brought together many long-time friends. The most elderly woman runner was J.M. Provost, a 73-year-old who won the 70-74 age group at 55:40.

It was 80-year-old Ed Brundage who won the men's 80-84 age group at 1:00:27.

McGarity, the cross country and track coach at Lely High, also recognized the two best of his "Lely Alumni" runners in the race. In addition to Beights, Amber Prang was singled out for her time of 33:44.

McGarity said the race had a number of sponsors, adding the most prominent included the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island, Kretch's Restaurant, Morningstar Music, Insurance Solutions of Marco Island and the Marco Eagle.

A rundown of age-group winners and their times follows:

FEMALE

• 9-under — Alexandra Cohen, 1:03:11.

• 10-14 — Casy Smith, 40:45.

• 15-19 — Jade Dworkin, 37:08.

• 20-24 — Amber Prang, 33:44.

• 25-29 — Stacy Furco, 39:04.

• 30-34 — Tina Frandrich, 43:17.

• 35-39 — Cheryl Kepsel, 38:30.

• 40-44 — Beth Carlson, 39:50.

• 45-49 — Nancy Earle, 40:10.

• 50-54 — Virginia Craig, 44:04.

• 55-59 — Anke Stimpson, 44:36.

• 60-64 — Nancy Camposano, 54:07.

• 65-69 — None.

• 70-74 — J.M. Provost, 55:49.

MALE

• 9-under — Austin West, 1:06:00.

• 10-14 — Ryan Stafford, 36:39.

• 15-19 — Matt Barrett, 30:27.

• 20-24 — Daniel O'Neil, 31:39.

• 25-29 — Jim O'Neil, 31:02.

• 30-34 — Louis Pelsang, 31:24.

• 35-39 — Matt Sonneborn, 33:51.

• 40-44 — David Shreeve, 35:43.

• 45-49 — Chuck Mosley, 31:28.

• 50-54 — Jeff Powers, 32:02.

• 55-59 — Louis Molina, 32:21.

• 60-64 — Manfred Heberle, 33:44.

• 65-59 — Al Nagel, 38:26.

• 70-74 — Everett Frizzell, 59:10.

• 75-79 — None.

• 80-84 — Ed Brundage, 1:00:27.

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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