MARCO ISLAND — On the historical 30th anniversary of the Marco 5 Mile Hill Run, the race had its closest finish ever.
Carlos Miranda, 16, of Palmetto Ridge High, held off challenger Jesse Armbruster of Ashland, Ohio, winning by one second in a time of 26:33.
Armbruster, 26, was coming off a victory last Saturday in the Shark 5K Shootout, but couldn’t chase down Miranda.
The victory closed out an exceptional running season for the Palmetto Ridge junior who won Class 3A cross country district and regional titles, while finishing third at state in the fall.
“The hills were pretty tough, it was very challenging,” Miranda said of the hilly Marco course he ran for the first time.
Ohioan Armbruster, said, “It was a great course and I did my best. I liked it, but what’s not to like when you can run a race in December.”
The two were one minute faster than third-place finisher Jose Farnot, 20, of Fort Myers.
The overall Female Open winner was Kacy Smith, 16, of Estero, in a time of 30:15.5. She was part of a large contingent of Estero High runners.
Smith was a minute faster than Sarah Candiano of North Fort Myers, who was just two seconds ahead of third-place finisher Katy Solis, 17, of Bonita Springs.
The Overall Male Masters (for runners 40 and over) champ was Kip Kinn, 52, of Bucyrus, in a time of 30:09.5. Top Female Masters was Pamela Tanner, 41, of Naples, in a time of 35:09.5.
Nina Lane, 47, of Marco Island, competed in the run for the first time in 15 years, winning her 45-49 age class in 36:23.3. She also won her age group in the Jolley Be Good Bridge Run on Marco Island on Nov. 19.
“I’m just trying to get back into running,” she said. “This was a very tough race.”
Mark McGarity, race coordinator, said the race is the oldest event in Collier County. He told how earliest races were time by a stop watch started at the beginning of the race, then the first person across the finish line picked up the watch and record everyone’s time.
Mitch Norgart, president of the Gulf Coast Runners, event host, said that McGarity had taken running from a sport to a lifestyle. McGarity coaches cross country and track at Lely High.
Female class winners included: 14-and-under, Megan Slater, 14, Estero, 38.17.5; 15-19, Bethany Jenkins, 15, Bonita Springs, 31:42.6; 20-24, Manuela Rigaud, 22, Lehigh Acres, 38:10.5; 25-29, Allyson Swanson, 29, Naples, 35:21.7; 30-34, Kathleen Jasper, 33, Bonita Springs, 36:40; 35-39, Joanna Citarella, 35, Naples, 36:03.9; 40-44, Kim Olson, Naples, 41, 38:45.2; 45-49, Nina Lane, Marco Island, 47, 36:23.3; 50-54, Erica Szilagyi-Norgart, 54, 36:51.5; 55-59, Linda Hibben, Cedar Falls, 57, 45:13.5; 60-64, Maria Lamb, 64, Marco Island, 43:24.3; 65-69, Marilyn Thieman, 66, 1:01:17.7,
Male winners, 14-and-under, Delfino Lopez, 14, Bonita Springs, 32:40.5; 15-19, Aaron Rojas, 17, 28:25.2; 20-24, Matthew Cevallos, 20, Naples, 32:05.4; 25-29, Santiago Farnot, 26, Fort Myers, 30:02.6; 30-34, Neil Mastellone, 33, Marco Island, 34:20.6; 35-39, Brian Rydzinski, 37, Naples, 29:13.1. 40-44, Robert Poling, 44, Marco Island, 37:05.6; 45-49, Edward Blankenship, 46, Naples, 32:45.9; 50-54, David Browne, 50, Naples, 32:47.1; 55-59, Greg Gabriel, 55, Galion, 33:51.4; 60-64, Bogdan Dolecki, 64, Naples, 37:58.3; 65-69, Louis Marjon, 66, North Fort Myers, 35:32.2; 70-74, Jeff Martin, Naples, 70, 41:54.1; 75-and-over, James Lacey, 77, South Park, 46:16.5.
For all finishes and times, go to www.gcrunner.org