Capt地 Fun Bushwacker 5-K

by Julie B. Connerley


After a two-year break, Capt地 Fun Runners once again showed locals and out-of-towners the road to fun August 5, 2000. A total of 1,008 participants made the 3.1 mile trek from Shoreline Park to the Visitor痴 Information Center parking lot on Pensacola Beach. From a six-week infant snugly encased in her mother痴 chest pack, to a couple of octogenarians, the runners and walkers braved the 90-degree heat and an almost as high humidity count.

A new charity has been chosen to benefit from this and future Capt地 Fun 5-k runs, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwest Florida. Proceeds totaling $3,500.00 from the run were presented to Paula Shell, Executive Director of BBBS.

The renamed Capt地 Fun Bushwacker 5-K Run also took a different turn with a new course winding through quiet, tree lined neighborhoods and over the Bob Sikes Bridge for a spectacular view of the Island and Gulf of Mexico. Runners from as far away as California, Colorado, and Illinois will take home memories of that view and of course the party afterwards.

Captain Alexander McCraight, Jr. led a camouflage outfitted platoon composed of Marine students and instructors. Their participation was inspired by PFC David Grimm who told the Captain that Big Brothers, Big Sisters helped him greatly during his youth and he wanted to give something back to the organization.

Major food sponsors this year included Albertsons, Barnhills, Hooters, and Krispy Kreme. Always a favorite with Capt地 Fun Runners, the Main Street Band entertained the crowd with their familiar rock and roll from the Barnhill痴 Stage area of the Bushwacker Festival site. Joining Main Street on stage was a larger-than-life-sized fully mature Toucan. Prancing in time with the music and strumming a cardboard flower like a guitar, this 田haracter of unknown (at least to this writer) parentage, entertained the crowd. It was amazing that the Toucan, with its bulky size and head-to-toe 吐eathers could endure the heat. Yet he, or she did and no doubt will be seen again at a future Capt地 Fun event.

For those participants whose body aches surpassed their need for thirst quenchers after the race, NovaCare, Inc. Physical Rehabilitation staff supplied complimentary massages.

The NovaCare Sports Team from the Gulf Breeze facility included physical therapists, exercise physiologists, massage therapists and athletic trainers.

Visiting from New Orleans and staying at the Hampton Inn, Vic Von Hassell, 44 was one of many who enjoyed the mini-massages. 典his was my first time doing the Capt地 Fun 5-K. I値l definitely be back, Von Hassell smiled as two therapists worked on him. The Bushwacker 5-k was also a first-time event for Brian Goddin, 26, of Bonifay, Florida.

Overall female winner, Sarah Kramer, 39, is in training for the 2004 Olympics. 的致e been running since I was 10 years old, smiled Kramer. 的 used to run in the fields near my home in Oxford, England, though I致e been in the states for 20 years. A resident of Ft. Walton Beach, Kramer enjoyed her first Capt地 Fun 5-K.

鄭ctually, she continued, 的 have been in a two-year slump, hampered by hamstring problems. I even went to two different sports physicians just last week to try to resolve the problem. With God痴 blessing, this race has been my fastest so far this year. Her time was 18:20.

Kramer, not wanting to take all the credit for herself, introduced us to Kelly Wild, her running partner who just happens to be eight months pregnant. Wild, understandably, walked the 5-K but vowed to return next year to compete against her friend and team mate.

Overall male winner was 21-year-old Justin Insco of Hamilton, Alabama. His time was 15:23. According to race photographer Jim Battles, 的 was helping with race packet pickup when a man asked me specifics about the race course. I told him where it began, and suggested that he just follow the leaders. He, (Justin Insco) told me he was going to be the leader. Later, while taking finish line photos, I immediately recognized him as the confident young man with whom I had spoken. He was the leader!

Receiving perhaps the most applause at the awards ceremony was Vera Youngstrom, 84, of the Brownsville area of Pensacola. Youngstrom was born in Glenwood, Alabama (near Troy) and moved to Pensacola in 1941. Widowed for many years, Youngstrom took up running only 10 years ago. 的 have been blessed with a good family, and good health, she said.

As the only female in the 80 to 99+ age group, Youngstrom laughed that she won first, second, third, and last places with her 50:42 finish. She also has a running partner, Billie Madero, 68 who placed third in her age group. Madero is from Ft. Walton Beach and the two women always enjoy seeing each other at these events.

According to race organizer and Capt地 Fun himself, Glenn Windham, 努e were quite pleased with the turnout this year after having a two-year lapse. During previous years, A large group of regular runners from Dothan, New Orleans, and the Birmingham area always supported this race. The word is out that we are back and are looking forward to an even better 5-K next year.