Monday, March 1, 2010

Ex-Cat Curley wins Gasparilla Half Marathon

Recent Villanova graduate Steve Curley (class of 2009) yesterday won the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon in 1:11:47, finishing two minutes clear of the second-place finisher. Curely took the lead at the one mile mark and was never headed. Here are the top five male finishers, and the article from today's Tampa Tribune.

Steve Curley 01:11:47
Jason Drudge 01:13:38
Henry Melius 01:14:48
Chris Calkins 01:15:04
Justin Montgomery 01:15:10

Curley, Rejimbal win Half Marathon

Tribune correspondent

Tampa Tribune
March 1, 2010

TAMPA - The winner of the Gasparilla men's half marathon, Steve Curley, lives in Orlando, but when it comes to running in cold weather, as was the case during Sunday's race, the temperature was not a factor.

"It was a little cold for Florida, but I'm used to it, because I ran at Villanova and at Philadelphia," Curley said. "This is a beautiful course, and the crowd out here and the runners are really supportive and encouraging the whole way."

Curley, 23, had no trouble with the bone-chilling wind as he crossed the finish line in 1:11:47, in his first attempt at the Gasparilla Half Marathon presented by Sports Authority.

And for Curley, not a lot of training went into Sunday's race which requires a lot of mileage from a runner, but success in the past during long-distance races made for an easy decision to enter the event.

"I've done a bunch of 5ks, 10ks, that's mainly it - that's about seven or eight races total in a six-month period," Curley said. "I saw this race coming up, I've always succeeded better in longer distance stuff, so I decided to try it out, and I had fun with it today. Hopefully I'll be back; I like it a lot."

During the race, Curley wasn't challenged much and found himself in the driver's seat early on.

"After the first mile I took the lead, trying to maintain a 5:20 pace, and I was able to do that," he said. "I started cramping up a little bit during the last three miles, started hurting a little bit, but I kind of expected that."

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Curley moved to Orlando at 8, and during high school was a standout athlete for Trinity Prep in both cross country and track, winning a state title in the 4x100, and a runner-up in state cross country his senior year.
Curley attended Villanova and had success as long-distance runner, thanks mainly to great assistance from an experienced teacher.

"As a team we made nationals in cross country my senior year," Curley said. "My coach was Marcus O'Sullivan, he taught me a lot, and helped me understand how to train for races like this."

Henry Melius, 20, of Daytona Beach finished second in Sunday's race, while Chris Calkins, 29, of St. Augustine was third.

The top local man was Anthony Pavicic, 27, from Sterling Heights, placing 10th.

Terry Rejimbal, 41, of Tampa was the top female finisher and masters champion in the Gasparilla half marathon, and in doing so successfully defended her title from last year.

And unlike the marathon woman's champ, Melissa Gacek, who veered off the course unintentionally, Rejimbal realized right away that runners were going in the wrong direction, and quickly made amends.

"We realized we were off track, and then we got back on track and I realized I was still on pace," Rejimbal said. "I didn't lose really anything, but I don't know where the lead vehicle took (some runners) - but they were really upset.

"It's too bad that it happened, but its also the runner's responsibility to know the course."

Rejimbal used the incident as a motivator, and ended up with a PR time of 1:22:18, better than her previous year when she was also the champ.

"I'd rather be the underdog any day," Rejimbal said. "Defending your title is much more stressful."

Rejimbal, who has participated in the Gasparilla half marathon five times, won the Jamaica Marathon, PRing in that race with a time of 3:56.

Finishing second in Sunday's race was Jessica L. Crate, 24, of Melbourne in 1:23:06, and in third place was Lindsey Mills, 28, of Denver in 1:25:02.

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