Rodeo Run boasts 200-plus athletes

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |

With temps in the low 70s and very low humidity, more than 200 runners took to the pavement Sunday morning in the Rodeo Run 5K, held in conjunction with the 68th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

First to cross the finish line was Jonathan Campbell with a time of 17:57. Hot on his trail was Ian Brandt with an 18:09 finish.

Crossing third and fourth overall were Matt Blunden, 18:27, and his wife, Katja, 18:28.

“It was nice conditions today. Glad the humidity is gone,” said Matt. He and his wife moved to Okaloosa County in June from England to work at Eglin Air Force Base. “The course was fast and flat. I was pacing my wife,” he said.

“He was keeping me company,” Katja said. “It was a nice atmosphere … I was pleased with my time.”

However, Sunday’s finish time wasn’t her best overall.

“I’ve dipped under 18 before,” she said. “But this is the best since having the baby.”

Although the Blunden’s run a lot of races together, they don’t train together.

“He’s much faster than me,” she said.

Matt, who runs about 30 races a year, said his best 5K time is 14:40.

Not only did the adults do well on Sunday, so did the youth.

Destin Middle School cross country team was well represented on the course.

“We had eight running today,” said Destin Coach Tina Barron, who ran herself and finished first in her age group, 23:59.

Barron said they encourage the team to participate in one race a month.

Luke Bilger, who has been in the forefront for the Destin Marlins, placed sixth overall and first in his age group with a finish of 18:51.

“It was perfect weather … no humidity,” said Bilger who was excited that he broke 19 minutes on Sunday.

Running the extra races, “helps me learn who to pace with,” Bilger said. 

“I try to keep up with the top five or six,” he said, noting he kept his eye on Blunden.

Kambry Smith, also of Destin Middle, finished 11th overall and first in her age group with a mark of 20:18.

Other top finishers in the various age groups include:

Masters 40-plus: John Roberts, 18:48; and Donna Harris, 21:58.

Grandmasters 50-plus: Chris Neal, 19:19; Paula Piazza, 21:58.

9 and under: Male - Jared Fairbanks, 31:31, first; Lucas Bowen, 39:03, second. Female – Chloe Aaron, 36:04, first; Sharlese Nelson, 40:10, second.

10-14: Male – Luke Bilger, 18:51, first; Ryan Sloan, 21:30; second; Mason Brundidge, 22:40, third. Female – Kambry Smith, 20:18, first; Delaney Cookman, 21:38, second; Mackenzie Toth, 24:11, third.

15-19: Male – Ian Brandt, 18:09, first; Wade Ramby, 31:48, second. Female – Daija Jackson, 32:53, first.

20-24: Male – Troy Grisay, 20:38. Female, Julia Keith, 29:57.

25-29: Male – Steven Blose, 21:35, first; Nathan Schaffel, 22:03, second; Ryan McCoy, 23:55, third. Female – Erica Hill, 30:28, first; Elizabeth Cox, 32:03, second; Skylar Messenger, 33:59, third.

30-34: Male – Tim Lombardi, 19:55, first; Thomas West, 20:28, second; Scott Ramiseck, 23:10, third. Female – Rachel Staples, 21:25, first; Jenna Desmet, 24:36, second; Annie Lombardi, 26:27, third.

35-39: Male – Matt Blunden, 18:27, first; Travis Scott, 20:09, second; Brian Dwyer, 23:18, third. Female – Michelle Williams, 27:46, first; Carla Colmetz, 28:47, second; Dee Allen, 29:44, third.

40-44: Male - Karl Seekaup, 21:39, first; Aaron Spann, 23:48, second; Shannon Sutton, 24:11, third. Female – Tina Barron, 23:59, first; Hadley Arnold, 24:00, second; Janelle Harrick, 26:08, third.

45-49: Male – Kent Watson, 19:55, first; Chad St. Aubin, 20:59, second; Marcus Hallum, 21:13, third. Female – Samona Fironi, 23:53, first; Suzette Mackenzie, 24:07, second; Donna Pink, 24:26, third.

50-54: Male – Scott McNey, 20:46, first; Jeff Harris, 21:07, second; Gary Spencer, 22:17, third. Female – Velina Sweat, 25:59, first; Kimberly Smith, 26:43, second; Debbie Mast, 27:13, third.

55-59: Male – Don McClimtic, 23:27, first; Dale Castille, 26:22, second; Cliff Reid, 31:04, third. Female – Lin Rekah, 25:11, first; Connie West, 25:58, second; Elisse Varner, 26:07, third.

60-64: Male – Mike O’Brien, 21:40, first; Terry Weimer, 25:14, second; Jim Cardow, 25:44, third. Female – Pamela Thompson, 28:05, first; Debbie Henderson, 32:48, second; Constance Schobel, 35:48, third.

65-69: Male – Mark Flynn, 23:54, first; Nick Kern, 24:06, second; Bill Cristie, 26:42, third. Female – Jo Lowry, 38:33.

70-74: Male – Lance Jorgensen, 25:28.

Overall Walkers: Ken Smalewich, 30:14; Cheryl Wolfe, 36:26.