The third annual Florida Roots Trail Series foot race was run this past weekend at Fort Clinch State Park. The race, which has raised more than $8,000 for the Friends of Fort Clinch during its short existence, features three distances; 10K, 30K, and Amelia Island’s only ultra-marathon distance of 50K. This event has become a favorite of local runners looking to experience the extensive trail system around the park, and includes a mix of canopied single track and the short beach section behind the historic Civil War-era fort. Each loop is 10K long, and the distance raced is determined by the number of loops run. More than 110 runners participated this year, filling the park’s common areas with runners, their family, and amazed spectators.
This year, the male 50K course record was broken by Wrigley Longstreet of Alachua, Fla., who turned in a time of 4 hours, 10 minutes, while the female winner was local runner Cason Zylinski, who overtook the women’s course record by 7 minutes with a time of 4 hours, 59 minutes to claim her second straight win in the event. Winners in the 30K distances were Scott Hoover of Babson Park, Fla. with a time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, and Wendy Body of Emmaus, Pa., who finished in 3 hours, 26 minutes. In the 10K distance, Yulee’s own Cedric Gillette won with a time of 55 minutes, 31 seconds, while best friends Jenna McConnell of Oviedo, Fla. and Maria Puccio-Ball of Palm Coast, Fla. managed a well-timed tie for the women’s title at 56 minutes, 20 seconds. Masters winners (40+) in each division were Toby Lentz and Katie Hoover in the 50K, Alexander Moore and Cindy Perosa in the 30K, and Matthew Kessel and Raeann Alboher in the 10K. All winners were awarded an annual Florida State Parks pass provided by First Port City Bank.
While primarily billed as a fundraiser for the Friends of Fort Clinch, most runners will tell you that they participate in this race for the party atmosphere and positive energy from everyone involved. Aid station food for runners was provided by Brightway Insurance and included donuts provided by Southern Donut Company. Post-race refreshments included burgers and brews provided by Yulee’s pioneering SJ Brewing and leading craft non-alcoholic beer producer, Athletic Brewing.
Due to the overwhelming response at this year’s event, registration for the 2024 race has been opened immediately. More information can found at zerofeetabove.com.