Locals shine in 5K Rodeo Run

Tina Harbuck

Out of a field of 200 athletes, the top male and female finishers in the Destin 5K Rodeo Run Sunday morning were locals.

With nobody in sight behind him, Steven Corneleis, 39, made the last curve on Calhoun Avenue and cut into the Clement Taylor Park for the finish line with a time of 16:59.

Although he’s lived in Destin the past 38 years, this was his first time to participate in the Rodeo Run that is held in conjunction with the Destin Fishing Rodeo each year.

“I like it … it was a good course, fast,” Corneleis said. “I was happy with my time.”

Corneleis, an avid runner, said he does anything from 5Ks to ultra marathons, up to 100 mile races.

“Right now I’m training for a half marathon,” he said, noting he’ll be doing a half marathon on 30A in South Walton next weekend.

First female to cross the line, and fifth overall, was 34-year-old Rachel Staples. Staples, who was the third female in last year, finished this year with a mark of 19:46, about 35 seconds off her time from last year.

“It was good out today … a little windy but it was alright,” she said.

This was Staples fifth or sixth time to run the event.

“It was my best time at the Rodeo Run, but not my best time ever,” she said for a 5K.

In past years, Staples has run pushing a racing stroller with one of her young sons in tow.

“It’s definitely easier not pushing a stroller for multiple reasons,” she laughed. “It’s easier to go faster … and they’re not saying mommy mommy all the time.”

Staples said she likes to do the Rodeo Run because it’s a community event and kind of kicks off the running season.

She plans to do a couple of 10Ks this year as well as other races.

Second overall in the Sunday’s event was Nathan Isaacs of Santa Rosa Beach who took first place last year. This year he finished second with a mark of 18:01 which was about 30 seconds slower than last year's time.

Third overall was Destin Middle School runner Cason Larocque, who finished at 19:17. Larocque has been leading the Destin Marlin cross country team this year in their two-mile events. This was his first time to participate in the Destin 5K Rodeo Run.

“It got hot at the last mile,” said the 13-year-old.

Although he finished third overall, he wasn’t pleased with his time.

“It wasn’t too good,” he said. “I thought I was going to get near the 18 minute.”

However, he attributed his “off time” to eating a lot of bad stuff the day before at a party of his sister.

Nevertheless, the young man said he would definitely do the Rodeo Run again.

Other top finishers in Sunday’s race were as follows:

Masters 40-plus – male, Yancey Ream, 19:30; and female, Stacey Neitzel, 23:57.

Grandmaster 50-plus – male, Marcus Hullum, 21:32; and female, Suzette McKenzie, 25:38.

As for walkers, Greg Noble was first male at 34:11; and fist female was Cathy Alley, 36:10.