Column: 5th Beck 5K race set to go under ideal conditions

The forecast for this morning is for 5-percent chance of rain, partly cloudy and 77 degrees with gentle winds coming out of the west-southwest at just 5 mph.

In other words, it’s a perfect morning for a 5-kilometer race.

Today, the fifth edition of the Beck 5K Capes and Caikes Run will take place starting at 8 a.m. and the goal is to get 400 runners involved in the race. Last year’s race on a Chamber of Commerce kind of day saw the entry numbers double from the 2017 race.

To enter this morning before the 8 o’clock start, potential last-moment entries to the race will have to pay $35. As for the course itself, it is a challenging one. The race will start at the Palatka riverfront by the Hampton Inn and will head up St. Johns Avenue until turning left onto 9th Street before heading back down Oak Street toward the St. Johns River. At 3rd Street, the racers turn right, then right again up Laurel Street, veer off onto Crill Avenue, then onto Morris Street, Kirby Street, Kirkland Street, Emmett Street, back onto Morris Street. Then there’s a right turn onto River Street, where runners will go away from the start/finish line, then back toward it to finish the race out, running alongside Riverfront Park toward the finish.

Last year’s winner was Jackson Storey, who has won the race three straight years. The St. Johns  County resident handily won in 17:50 under the warm, sunny conditions. Rich Smith of Gainesville finished second in 18:45 and Jacksonville’s Aldren Biala was third in 19:26. The female winner was Stefanie Braun of Ormond Beach, who was fourth overall in 20:15.

By the way, the only other overall winner of this race was Winston Fletcher in 2015.

The waterfront and the view of the river makes for a great view for anyone wishing to witness this morning’s race. And the fun doesn’t end after the last competitor crosses the finish line – a one-mile Fun Run will be held afterward. Awards will be given to the top three overall male and female competitors as well as the age division finishers.

With the clouds hovering overhead, those wanting to see the race don’t have to put up with the heat, unlike last year.

n Since last reaching the state tournament in 2008, winning the back end of back-to-back district championships, the Interlachen High School softball team has had a rough go of it in districts involving mainly private schools.

In some years, coach Ron Whitehurst’s Rams were good enough to make a state tournament, but the talent level of the teams within his district was just too much.

But until this year, none of the teams he had to go up against did one thing at the end of the season – win a state championship.

That came to an end last week when Jacksonville Trinity Christian won the state 4A championship, beating Miami Westminster Christian, 16-0, a year after Westminster Christian beat Trinity Christian in the 4A title game, 6-1.

The only other team in these last 11 years to be in Interlachen’s district to reach a state title game was Gainesville P.K. Yonge, which lost to Pensacola West Florida, 6-5, in the 4A state title game of 2014. One of the assistants on that P.K. Yonge team was Brent Coates, who was one of Whitehurst’s assistants this past season.

n Finally, as you will notice on this page, the girls soccer All-County team has been announced.

That will begin the run of All-County teams the Daily News will put out for the winter season (yeah, yeah, I know, I know ... it’s awfully hot to honor the winter season). But with a longer-than-normal spring season, it’s been put back for some time.

Know this, though – we will continue the wintertime superlatives with the All-County boys soccer team in Tuesday’s edition. From there, it will be the wrestler of the year, the girls weightlifter of the year, the boys and girls All-County basketball teams and the Coach of the Winter season honor will be announced.

Without any issues, this will be in that order going into next week. Soon after that is done, we will announce the recipients of the spring season.

Thank you to everyone for being patient in the meantime.

Mark Blumenthal is a writer for the Palatka Daily News. You can reach him at mblumenthal@palatkadailynews.com or on Twitter @diabolicalmarky.

Palatka Daily News

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