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Issue: #50
April 2015
In This Issue

Mission of the PRA

The Mission of the Pensacola Runners Association is to promote, support and develop running and racing along the northern Gulf Coast. Our objective is to provide information, education, training, social and sporting events for competitive and non- competitive runners and walkers of all ages, races, genders and abilities.


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From The Top


By Charles Gheen  


Times have changed greatly since I was President of the PRA ten years ago. Like then our current
First Pitch At Wahoos' PRA Night
Board of Directors continues to amaze me with their dedication and commitment to our great sport here in Northwest Florida. The PRA is an all-volunteer organization and our Board, Officers and truly awesome volunteers always go far beyond what anyone could expect in every situation.

Today the challenges are much more demanding than they were then. We strive to put on the highest-quality, professional races and produce a great experience for everyone. We provide the best technical race shirts, great medals and awards, outstanding food and refreshments and excellent timing. We review and constructively critique our planning, organization and methods after each race.

We have upgraded or updated most of our equipment. We have fully automated our newsletter, re-written our website and our communication methods are very 21st century. Sometimes we fall short of our expectations somewhat, but we constantly work on improvement for the benefit of the runners and walkers.

In the end it's very rewarding for us just as your training and racing are rewarding for you. If you'd like to be a part of the experience, we would love to have you. Please contact me to get involved.

Keep training, 



The Fiesta Of Five Flags 10K/5K
Is THIS Saturday, May 2nd!!   
The time is finally here for the 41st PRA Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K race. Registration is well ahead of last year and we expect a large field to take on this challenging, historic road race course that starts at Pensacola State College, bisects the city of Pensacola and finishes at Seville Square. Local favorites The Heritage Band will highlight the post-race party and awards ceremony. 
On Your Marks.....Get Set......  
Packet Pickup and late registration will be Friday at Running Wild on Cervantes Street from 12-6:30 PM. Race shirts are guaranteed only to those who registered by March 31st and all sizes or shirts MAY not be available for late registrants. Packet Pickup will also be available on race day at the corner of Cedar and Jefferson Streets downtown from 5:30-6:45 AM where the transportation buses will be located.
THERE IS NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION!!! We look forward to seeing you competing at this year's Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K race! 
The PRA Bear Lake 4-Mile
Trail Challenge Is Coming Up
On Saturday May 16th!

The PRA is pleased to once again present perhaps the best of the trail races in Northwest Florida at the Bear Lake Trail Challenge. The course is scenic and presents an interesting test of your trail running skills and stamina.

Our experienced Race Directors, Angelika Cope and Diane Martinez, expect that we will have another great event with a PRA workout towel as the premium and LOTS of PRA swag given to the athletes. A great picnic lunch follows along with the PRA Annual Meeting where we will elect our new Board of Directors and Officers.

Registration is available online and on Saturday morning from 6-7:30 AM at Bear Lake State Park off the Munson Highway in Santa Rosa County. Packet Pickup is only on Saturday morning at the race site. To register or get more information go to the PRA Website. 
The Lou Gregory Award Winner
Will Be Announced This Saturday

The Lou Gregory Award will be named on Saturday at the 41st Annual Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K race. This is PRA's Hall of Fame and is presented to a person who has shown great leadership, commitment and enthusiasm in promoting the sport of running in Northwest Florida. The winner is someone who has contributed significantly to the mission of the PRA over a period of time and who has enhanced the organization through his/her actions.

The award is named after the legendary Pensacola State College track Coach. Lou Gregory represented the United States in the 1932 Olympics, finished second in the Boston Marathon, won 19 national championships and still holds numerous national race records.

The Lou Gregory Award
The 2014 winner was Wendy Ellis who was the former Race Director of the Pensacola Seafood Festival 5K and the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K. Wendy is well-known in the area as an accomplished runner and triathlete who has volunteered on many other races over the years.  

PRA Runner Of The Month:
Bentina Terry
You may well have seen Bentina at some of our races - enthusiasm, determination and a huge smile. When she's out running, it's apparent she is in her element. 


From Fayetteville, NC, she graduated from North Carolina State and the University of Michigan law school. She is currently the Vice-President of Customer Service/Sales at Gulf Power and is integrally involved in many community and state organizations.

She ran in her 20s, took an extended hiatus from the sport and began again a couple of years ago as part of her over-all training program. Since then she has logged many training miles, run many races around the region and, yes, had surgery to repair her knee about a year ago.

Following her rehab from that surgical procedure she has come back strong competing in several longer races and recently completed two half-marathons in six days! At the end of that challenge she was smiling broadly and feeling very pleased with and grateful for her successful comeback from the knee repair.

Her favorite races are the Double Bridge Run, a long run which allows her to experience our fantastic local scenery, and the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in North Carolina which features an awesome trail course.

Husband Antonio and her ferrous long-haired chihuahuas, Bubba and Rock, keep things busy at home. When she does have some free time, she loves to play golf with Antonio and they travel extensively.

We look forward to seeing Bentina down the road in many of our local races - she'll be smiling every step of the way. 

To Drink Or Not To Drink:
That Is The Question 


by Corey Dell

PRA Board of Directors 


 We are in the FULL effect of spring, in case you have missed the extensive rain showers lately.  Before you know it, summer will be here along with the long, hot days we are all so familiar with!  I always get a lot of questions about nutrition and exercise.


First, I will say I'm not a nutritionist/dietician and I'm not a personal trainer.  I have just found, mostly through trial and error,  several  things that work for me.  What I've come to terms with when dealing with diet and exercise is that everyone is different, sometimes vastly different.  What works for me may not necessarily work for you.  But, proper hydration is the key to great sports performance whether you're running a 5K or competing in a half ironman race.   


The difference is this: although hydration should not be avoided for your 5K races, it should be focused on before the race and after the race.  For example, drinking 17-20 ounces of water or sports drink 2-3 hours before your race and another 7-10 ounces 20 minutes before your race is a good rule of thumb.  If your races are going to be over 30 minutes long, make sure to drink 7-10 ounces of fluid every 20-30 minutes.   


I usually alternate drinking sport drinks with electrolytes and water.  This can and will help prevent dehydration for your longer events.  Again, I couldn't stress more than to practice to see what works for you!!  We all come in different shapes and sizes, no two people are the same.  

Corey Dell
Corey Dell


Until next time, Happy Running!!





By Jason Vaughn


Last November I competed at Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach. November 1, 2014 was not the best of days as we experienced frigid temperatures, 20-30 mph winds, and a rip current that kept the 2500+ athletes from entering the Gulf Of Mexico for the swim. But....I completed the course I was given.  



During the day I saw many things that kept me going. Seeing my family and friends at different areas of the course was huge, but seeing the two brothers together (one who has cerebral palsy), the two paraplegic athletes and the NF Endurance athletes was very inspiring. It was so inspiring that I joined the Children's Tumor Foundation NF Endurance team to help raise awareness and money to find a cure for neurofibromatosis. Every lap in the pool, all of the miles on the bike and on the run will be for the Children's Tumor Foundation.


I recently saw a story on the news of a woman completing her first 10K after losing 200 pounds. This woman's determination to finish the 6.2 miles inspired a police officer patrolling the race to make sure she did finish. The officer held her arm and walked with her stride-for-stride until she crossed the finish line.


These are just a couple of testaments to what the body can do if the mind gets inspired. Get out there. Find your inspiration. Anything is possible.

The Pensacola Marathon Part Trois

by Steve Lipe 
PRA Board of Directors

January began with anticipation of things to come and another good season of races and walking. We were looking forward to my daughter giving birth to our second granddaughter and I was going to be with her in Ohio to help. I flew out in mid January and, as was the case a year earlier, was greeted with cold and snow. I stayed until the second week of March and during those weeks it was the coldest and most accumulated snow in the Ohio area in the last 30 years.  



When I was out there I developed some lower back issues and also caught a stomach virus. I still managed to go for walks on days when I could navigate the sidewalks. I did do two 5k races while there despite the conditions. The first was a race, sponsored by The Ohio State Medical department, and it was for women with heart disease. The temperature at race time was a balmy 9 degrees. By the time it was over the temp had peaked to 11 degrees.

The second 5k was the Arnold 5k. This is a yearly event held in Columbus and it is over several days culminating with two back-to-back 5k's on Saturday. The first race is a regular 5k and the race following is called the pump and run. Participants in this race lift weights and do exercises prior to the race and then do the 5k event. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the starter for this race.

The morning of this race I left the house in the pre-dawn hours, giving myself plenty of time to get downtown. As I was driving it started to snow. When I arrived at the venue the snow in the parking lot was 2-3 inches deep. The snow continued and by race time there was 4-5 inches of snow on the ground. The temperature was 28 degrees by then and along with the snow, there was a mixture of sleet (that's frozen rain for you southerners). By the time the race started the wind had shifted and was blowing directly in our faces and the driving sleet felt like needles hitting our skin. This continued for the first third of the race. By the finish, the sleet had stopped, but the snow was coming down much faster. When the second race had finished, participants were caked in snow and frozen ice.

Fast forward to being back in Pensacola. I was still experiencing some stomach and lower back issues. I also had a weight loss of 20 lbs. Over the next few months the stomach issues were resolved and after a series of injections, my back problems were fixed. I had continued to walk as best I could but the thought of doing another long distance event was the farthest thing from my mind.

The one positive in the community of runners and walkers is the enthusiasm they all share in the sport. Being around these people just makes you feel good about getting involved in whatever way you can. In my brief association with this group I have found that it's just not about doing an event, in total, it's everything leading up to, and including the race. I get much satisfaction with volunteering to help in any way I can. This also affords you the opportunity to get closer to the people involved and realize what it actually takes to put on an event. I take nothing for granted anymore when it comes to the dedication of the race directors and their volunteers. These people work tirelessly and deserve much more credit than they receive.

The first nine months of 2014 had basically gone by in a blur. Before I knew it the Pensacola Marathon was a mere six weeks away. I had to make a decision. Friends and family made that choice very easy for me and I started my training regime. I basically had to compress a 12-14 week training program into 6 weeks. I had still maintained the weight loss so I felt good about that and I did well with nutrition and hydration. Again, I agonized over what shoes and socks I would wear and if I would approach the race any differently than the previous two years. Six weeks went by in a blink and it was time.

The morning of the race was ideal weather. Again, I arrived an hour before the sun was up and did my usual nervous pacing, going over everything in my head, incessantly checking my pockets to make sure I had everything I needed, tying and re-tying my shoes so they were snug but not too tight, going to the porta potty at least 4 times and wondering if I would need to stop anywhere along the route. (I'm sure no one else goes thru this).

I started towards the back of the pack. I tried to stay as much as I could on the inside track in order to cut down on distance because over any race, a few extra steps can make a big difference. After going under the graffiti bridge, the 17th Avenue hill went better than ever and after turning onto Cervantes it was downhill to the first water station. After a gel tab and two cups of water I was streaking right along (well, streaking, as defined by walking pretty darn fast), and soon making the curve onto Scenic Highway. This is a good stretch and I kept to the middle of the road as best I could. There are areas where it slopes and this is hard on my ankles.  

The second water station came up quicker than I thought and I knew it wasn't too much farther to a left turn onto Summit. I had purposely not weighted down my pockets with too much food stuff because I knew my wife, Heidi, was volunteering at the PRA water station and she had my second stage supplies. I went thru that station without changing my gait (horse term), and she handed me my supplies and additional hydration and I was revived once again.  

This was close to the mid point of the race and I still felt strong. I knew the next oasis was manned by the Capt'n Fun Runners. They have all kinds of fun munchies and refreshments. I doubled down on gels and water and got ready for "The Hill". People always talk about this obstacle and I think they psyche themselves out when they approach it. It's a hill, there are others more daunting. I stood up as straight as I could, pumped my arms, and took short rapid steps...nailed it. A quick cup of water and I was gliding down 12th Ave, beneath the arching Oaks(I'm waxing poetic a bit), and then I was turning onto Texar. More gels and water and I was focused on the overpass on Texar. For the past three years there has been a group of high schoolers at the approach of the bridge playing drums, cheerleading and giving high fives to everyone. They are a great and tireless group of young adults.

Took the turn onto Palafox and knew I had just passed the 10 mile mark. As in the past, at this point, I started to become aware of an issue with my feet, particularly my right forefoot. It was burning and I knew it wasn't going to go away. I started to lose focus. I was feeling hungry, I wasn't aware of my pace/rhythm, I was now sweating more profusely...blood sugar was dropping. Being a Type 2 diabetic I knew I had to do something. I had a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels and gummy fish. All in the mouth at once and by the time I reached the next water station and downed three cups of water I was refreshed anew.  

When I crossed Cervantes and started down Palafox I realized I was favoring my right foot and was doing a limp-like walk. This was slowing my pace, but when I crossed Garden Street I had adjusted and was back to my normal rhythm. Making the last left turn I know it was literally a matter of a few minutes before the finish. I had no idea what my time was, but I was hoping for something even close to my previous two half marathons.  

There is something about seeing a finish line that always gives me a little extra burst of speed. Not sure where it comes from, but I always feel like I can just keep on going. In the chute I can hear people clapping and cheering and the announcer is talking, but nothing is really discernable.  

I crossed the finish and then walked around for 20-30 minutes before I started to cool down, all the while hydrating and eating what I can. I got a quick massage and then checked the posted results. It was not quite as good as the previous year, but I still managed to do it under three hours. That has been my goal for all three of these races and I have been able to accomplish it each time.

Just out of curiosity I checked the prize table but was told I had not placed. I had not been aware the walking categories had been changed from the previous years. My satisfaction was finishing in approximately the prescribed time as I had in the past. I was basically racing against myself.

I had completed the series of three half marathon events and it was a feat I would have never thought possible for me. It was a personal triumph. As I said after every other race, I will never do another. Never say never, but I would have to be both physically and mentally prepared. Just remember..."never look back, you have already been there". 

 "Climate Change" At
The Beach Blast In Mexico Beach 
This year's Beach Blast Triathlon and Duathlon in Mexico Beach (about 30 miles east of Panama City) featured almost every weather condition Florida has to offer short of cold temperatures. This event features four races: Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons and Olympic and Sprint distance duathlons. All four competitions start within a 30-minute timeframe.

There was a southerly wind blowing off the Gulf of Mexico with gusts up to 20 MPH and it was overcast at the start. Because the shoreline is hemmed in from the east by the St. Joseph Peninsula (which forms St. Joseph Bay), this area of the Gulf does not flush well and the week-long rains had soiled the water badly. Combine that with rough, choppy wave sets and the swim was VERY challenging.

After the field exits the water, it's several hundred yards up the hill and across Highway 98 to the Transition area. There the athletes went out on the bike and headed north with a strong tailwind pushng them along. Before the bike turnaround, there is a substantial bridge that seemed higher than the year before.
Northwest Florida Athletes After The Race

Every great tailwind will bring a strong headwind on the way back and this ride was no different. You cross the bridge again, get way down in your aero bars and push on trying to keep your cadence up as the wind blows hard directly into your face. About a mile from Transition, it began raining and some riders were soaked as they finished this discipline.

Going out on the run, the sun suddenly broke through the clouds and it became hot and muggy. Despite the changing weather conditions, it was another excellent race and many Pensacola-area athletes came home with awards and good memories of another challenge met and "mastered".
The PRA Is Looking  
 For Volunteers (STILL)!

The Pensacola Runners Association is a not-for-profit organization that is 100% volunteer driven. None of our members are compensated for all the hours that are put in organizing and holding our events and helping out at MANY other events across Northwest Florida throughout the year.
PRA Waterstop Volunteers
If you are interested in volunteering or in becoming a Race Director, please email PRA President-elect Eric Miller at  Thanks very much!!