The Running Zone Foundation's 2022-23 Run Brevard Race Series began with a bang as close to 1000 athletes took to the start of the Firecracker 5K at Eau Gallie Square on the Fourth of July.
In spite of searing heat, and a windless, cloudless, no shade course that forced them out and back over the Eau Gallie causeway, race times sizzled.
The top three males ran lockstep -unable to shake each other off - until the final 100 meters when Mims’ Simon DeVoss dug the deepest to take the win in 15:59.65
Sixteen-year-old Devin Makousky from Rockledge finished 1.2 seconds behind in 16:00.85 to take second and Melbourne’s Cameron Raney, 18, ran 16:03 for third.
“I was talking to the other guys before the race,” said DeVoss a rising sophomore studying engineering at University of North Florida. “We had a plan to go out hard but at a controlled effort. I expected we’d stay together, but not for as long as we did.”
“Once we made the turn to come back up the bridge, we were surging to try to drop each other but it didn’t work. Once we were at the bottom we were racing all out.”
DeVoss was surprised with his time.
“I’ve run under 16 before,” said the former Astronaut High School athlete who ran a cross-country 5K PR of 15:39. “But, honestly, I was not expecting how hot it was or the causeway. I’ve never raced up a hill twice like that.”
DeVoss was also a last-minute entry.
“I wasn’t going to run but Kaitlin (Donner) asked me to race for the New Wave team,” he said. “I’m glad I did. I was happy with my race and it was good to see the other guys. We ran against each other in high school. They made me go 100% into the well at this race.”
The top two women’s winners – also racing for the New Wave team – ran a race similar to the men.
After running together for most of the event, Indialantic’s Alison Sukolsky shook off Jennifer Absher during the last quarter mile.
Sukolsky, a 32-year-old software engineer for Research Innovations, Inc., nailed the win in 19:08. Melbourne’s Absher, 35, followed five seconds later in 19:13 for second. Isabella Narvaez, 17, also from Melbourne, took third in 20:19.
“Jen and I had talked about both wanting to run strong before the start of the race,” Sukolsky said. “The sun was in our eyes going up the causeway so it was hard to see who was around. Coming down it was like ‘oh, good, Jen is with me.’”
“She was really pushing me over the causeway on the way back,” said Sukolsky. "She threw in a surge that I was able to stay with and then I surged right near the end. I had expected her to be with me because she has a lot of speed.”
Sukolsky was happy with her time and the race event in general.
“I usually don’t hang around after races, but my husband was on a group ride,” she said. “I was amazed by all the other things going on afterward like the kids’ races, food, photos and just a good, fun atmosphere. It was a nice perspective.”
-Check out all of the Firecracker 5K results here.
-View the amazing complimentary race photos Keith Snodgrass - a superb runner and cyclist himself - captured here.