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Franks’ surge wins Pies 5K

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 6/15/23

JACKSONVILLE - A thunderstorm and 30 minute delay may have caused some anxiety among the elite runners of the Run For the Pies 5K staged Saturday night in downtown Jacksonville, but it was patience …

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Franks’ surge wins Pies 5K


JACKSONVILLE - A thunderstorm and 30 minute delay may have caused some anxiety among the elite runners of the Run For the Pies 5K staged Saturday night in downtown Jacksonville, but it was patience that rewarded overall winner Mac Franks who bested a two minute head start for the win.

“With the delay and the weather, it was all matter of racing my race and then slowly reeling her in,” said Franks, who recently just missed a spot at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Texas A & M by one spot in the steeplechase. “The two girls up front ran a great race and I didn’t make up the two minutes until about 500 yards left in the race.”

Franks, who ran 8:48 for 11th place at the 3K steeplechase at the NCAA region track championships last week at UNF. completed his senior season with the University of North Florida as a student out of Washington and Western Washington University. Franks also won his age group at the Gate River Run 15K in March.

The Run for the Pies 5K utilized a cash Equalizier bonus of $100 in a race situation that has been unique to the annual River Run 15K American championship race in March that gave women runners a sizeable head start (six minutes in River Run, two minutes for Pies 5K).

For the top three women of the race; eventual top female Jennifer Lima,

runnerup Kesley Pontius and third placer Payton Capes-Davis, the chase makes the race more interesting.

“I was concentrating on staying with Kelsey who took the lead from the start and maintained a good pace to keep ahead of us by about 10-15 yards,” said Lima, 24, who eventually caught Pontius on the final of four laps around a downtown Jacksonville circuit, to finish in a final time of 17 minutes, 17 seconds. “The funny thing was that I knew the guys were coming behind us because the crowd was getting louder each lap. That’s the fun part.”

Lima, an East Lake High graduate out of Tampa and now competing at Florida State University, had bests of 17:25 for a cross country 5K and a 4:44 mile for track for the Seminoles. Lima was twice a top five finisher in Class 3A track in Florida in the 800, 1600 and 3200.

Pontius, who led the entire race for nearly the entire 3.1 mile trek, ran for Dominican College in California and ran a 1:17.00 half marathon in March in New York.

For Franks, 24, his chase with eventual mens runnerup Jonathan Besselink, 25, who was linked at the shoulder to Franks through most of the race, was challenging enough including the chase of the top women still in front of them.

“I had two things going on in my head; stay ahead of Jonathan, and catch the women,” said Franks. “That’s a weird race situation.”

Franks would win in 15:07 with Besselink in his wake just three seconds behind and third placer John Bowers, 23, in at 15:39. Lima would be third overall finisher.

Also in the elite race locally were local runners Crystal Davis, 29, who was fifth female in 17:55 as well as former Fleming Island High track coach and a Clay High state track champion Karen Moritz, 39, who was eighth female in 18:59.

In the open 5K that followed, former Ridgeview High cross country standout James Snipes, 20, won his age group in 19:25. Kira Roberts, 12, was fourth in her age group in 28:34 with Florida Striders’ teammate Eve Schlotthauer, 12, just ahead of her in third in 25;03.