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Bodnar 7-mile winner

Friend-Uhl top woman in Marathon bridge run

By Sharon Robb
STAFF WRITER
Posted April 24 2005

Jason Bodnar got over his fear of bridges Saturday to win the 7-Mile Bridge Run in Marathon.

The 34-year-old dentist from Fort Lauderdale won his race debut in 35 minutes and 22 seconds. He pulled away from a strong men's field that included eight-time winner Paul Marmaro of Delray Beach and former champion Andrew Greenidge of Coconut Creek, who finished third in 38:33.

Sonja Friend-Uhl, 34, of West Palm Beach, coming off last weekend's Gatorade Track and Field Invitational, won the women's race in 39:22. Former champion Marlene Persson of Deerfield Beach was second in 43:21.

"Halfway through the race I was either going to end up in the fetal position or run really fast to get to the other end," Bodnar said. "I have always had a phobia of bridges. Today I even got a little cocky and took a peek over the edge."

Bodnar, who coaches runners, including fiance Jennifer Costello, who won her age group, can add a win at South Florida's "cult road race" across the longest segmental bridge in the world to his resume.

The annual run, which may be held only one more year on its 25th anniversary because of parking problems, closed down the Keys for two hours while the most diehard of runners traversed the desolate Seven Mile Bridge from Marathon to Little Duck Key with the glistening waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the right and Atlantic Ocean on the left.

Bodnar applied for the race a few times but never made the 1,500-entry cutoff until this year.

"I always wanted to run this race," Bodnar said. "I heard there was a big party down here and a race broke out. Right now I am erratic at best when it comes to my racing and training but this was great because it's what running is supposed to be about -- a celebration of our sport with so many people out here having a good time and experiencing the same thing at 9 o'clock in the morning."

Weather conditions were ideal with temperatures in the high 60s and winds at 3 mph. However, temperatures rose quickly during the race with no shade or trees.

Bodnar was a member of the U.S. national team at the 1998 World Cross Country Championships and a 2000 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. At his last Boston Marathon appearance, he was 26th in 2:32:55, the 13th American finisher despite hypothermia late in the race.

On Saturday, Bodnar said he was going for the win, not time. By the four-mile mark, he had a huge lead over the second pack that included Greenidge and Nathan Dorn of Miami. Marmaro, who holds the course record (32:57 set in 1995), was forced to stop and walk because of a calf problem. He regained his composure to nearly reel in most of the second pack at the 6-mile mark.

"Maybe it was just gravity helping me but I felt a lot better going down the bridge," Marmaro said. "It was neat to make up that much distance. I just didn't have enough race left to catch up to them."

Results

MEN OPEN: 1. Jason Bodnar, Fort Lauderdale 35:22, 2. Nathan Dorn, Miami 36:54, 3. Andrew Greenidge 38:33.

MEN AGE GROUP: 12-and-under: 1. Jeffrey Tait 45:10, 2. Robbie Burkey 1:03:35, 3. Tommy Dodamead 1:04:03; 13-18: 1. Cody Tipler 43:18, 2. Richard Black 44:52, 3. Robert Brunjes 45:30; 19-24: 1. Mark Bierkan 47:58, 2. Michael Carrafa 51:58, 3. Sean McIntosh 52:47; 25-29: 1. JP Hauser 45:40, 2. Victor Fox 46:37, 3. Tim Stepien 48:34; 30-34: 1. Chad Wilkinson 40:37, 2. Manuel Obando 50:02, 3. JP Masson 50:03; 35-39: 1. Jon Williams 40:42, 2. Rick Wandoff 42:38, 3. Chip Jetter 43:06; 40-44: 1. Gary Gates 38:39, 2. Paul Marmaro 38:54, 3. Scott Widrig 42:24; 45-49: 1. Stuart Calderwood 38:44, 2. Joe Monks 41:46, 3. Rolando Anton 42:16; 50-54: 1. Jim Boesch 41:50, 2. Mike Bailey 42:22, 3. Mike Fiorey 47:03; 55-59: 1. Chuck Bayles 46:29, 2. Arthur Sarakas 47:16, 3. Don Nelson 47:17; 60-64: 1. Bill O'Brien 48:20, 2. Mike Branigan 50:44, 3. Eiten Rosen 52:36; 65-69: 1. Bill Springer 48:59, 2. Roger Fisher 53:07, 3. Pearce Connerat 54:28; 70-74: 1. Jim Lynch 53:48, 2. William Schrack 1:06:01, 3. Paul Alpert 1:14:46; 75-79: 1. Hans Fendl 56:45, 2. Leroy Buckner 1:10:35, 3. Henry Bernazani 1:24:56.

WOMEN OPEN: 1. Sonja Friend-Uhl, West Palm Beach 39:22, 2. Marlene Persson, Deerfield Beach 43:21, 3. Stacie Bouchard, Key West 44:27.

WOMEN AGE GROUP: 12-and-under: 1. Naomi Valerdi 1:02:44, 2. Morgan Mooney 1:06:23, 3. Carolyn Croughwell 1:07:36; 13-18: 1. Meghan Mooney 53:25, 2. Tyler Buckheim 54:02, 3. Ariel Jagusztyn 55:53; 19-24: 1. Brittany Powers 45:55, 2. Diane Dabb 53:48, 3. Heidi Kemp 57:52; 25-29: 1. Helena Kapicova 49:55, 2. Lauren Walker 52:16, 3. Denise Mendez 52:50; 30-34: 1. Jennifer Costello 46:52, 2. Leah Renier 47:42, 3. Alexandra Smith 48:53; 35-39: 1. Theresa Hoppe 51:52, 2. Helen Thompson 52:12, 3. Kathleen Koteras 52:21; 40-44: 1. Sigrid Menocal 47:30, 2. Amy Triggs 47:52, 3. Marta Jara 49:37; 45-49: 1. Stacy Creamer 44:33, 2. Gayle Preston 47:19, 3. Jan O'Donnell 50:57; 50-54: 1. Mira Bedo 49:28, 2. Joanne Floyd 51:07, 3. Cynthia Raes-Barnard 51:11; 55-59: 1. Beverly Blass 54:48, 2. Jean Nistico 58:24, 3. Gail Beiley 58:37; 60-64: 1. Gerri Beasley 58:11, 2. Pat Kersey 59:34, 3. Alicia Kelley 59:45; 65-69: 1. Mimi Oliveira 1:00:52, 2. Ann Rawnsley 1:12:13, 3. Jane Wolen 1:14:16; 70-74: 1. Sylvia Weiner 1:09:17, 2. June Ranofsky 1:26:49; 75-79: 1. Miriam Gordon 1:26:48.

 
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