Gasparilla Distance Classic

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The Gasparilla Distance Classic is a road race which is held in late February or early March on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. Over 30,000 competitors participate each year.[1] It is named after the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, which takes place on Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard a few weeks earlier.


The Gasparilla Distance Classic Association was established in 1978 dedicated specifically to raising funds for charitable youth organizations and running programs in the Tampa Bay area. Its mission is carried out through the administration of the annual Publix Super Markets Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend and Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic. Since the first running of the Gasparilla Distance Classic in February, 1978, $3.2 million has been donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa, Girls Inc. of Pinellas, The Friends of Tampa Parks & Recreation and other running programs. More than 485,000+ runners and walkers have crossed the finish line.[2]

The race weekend includes the Half Marathon, 8k, the Publix Super Markets Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K & 5K, Kellogg's 5K Walk, Fifth Third Bank Half Marathon Team Challenge & Stroller Roll, Michelob Ultra Challenge (15K, 5K, Half Marathon & 8K) and the Beck's Light Challenge (15K, 5K & Half Marathon) [3]

The Gasparilla Distance Classic used to include a marathon race (26.2 miles). The final marathon was in 2010 and titled the "Final Voyage". Wilson Chepkwony of Kenya was the Men’s 2010 Marathon Champion with a time of 2:24:48 and Melissa Gacek of St. Paul, Minn was the Women’s 2010 Marathon Champion with a time of 2:53:20 [4]

Human interest stories[edit]

In 2008 Iraq war veteran Ivan Castro ran 20.0975 kilometres (12.4880 mi) of the Gasparilla Classic only 17 months after being blinded by shrapnel on a rooftop in Baghdad.[5]

Lieutenant Colonel Sam Arwood ran the 2010 Gasparilla Marathon 7,800 miles (12,600 km) away on a treadmill in Afghanistan. Sam had originally planned to run in the marathon in Tampa, but was deployed one month before the race. He was given the Ok by race officials to run a course on base in Afghanistan, but was forced onto a treadmill after heavy rains ruined the outdoor track.[6]


The Challenged Athletes Foundation(CAF) sponsors the LabCorp Elite 15K Wheelchair Division. CAF raises money to help people with physical disabilities pursue an active lifestyle through physical fitness and athletics.[7]

The Mendez Foundation Too Good For Drugs Junior Gasparilla Distance Classic is a free mini-marthon, now in its 20th year, for children ages 2 to 10. The race emphasizes participation over competition. Every child receives a race bib with the number "1" printed on it, as well as a goody bag, T-shirt and, after crossing the finish line, a competitor's medal.[8]

2011 Charitable Organizations & Running Related Programs Supported By The Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, Inc.

  • Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay
  • Girls INC.
  • Friends of Tampa Recreation INC.
  • St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation
  • Richard's Run
  • National Psoriasis Foundation
  • Because of Ezra
  • Wounded Warrior Foundation
  • Team Olivia
  • Girls On The Run

Tampa Cross Country & Track Programs

  • University of Tampa
  • Bloomingdale High School
  • Chamberlain High School
  • Plant High School
  • Robinson High School
  • Sickles High School
  • Steinbrenner High School
  • Wharton High School


  • Fifth Third Bank Too Good For Drugs Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic
  • Florida Blue Kids Running Program
  • Tampa Police Memorial Run

Past 15K winners[edit]

Key:   Course record

Edition Year Men's winner Time (m:s) Women's winner Time (m:s)
1st 1978  Bill Rodgers (USA) 44:29  Kim Merritt (USA) 55:40
2nd 1979  Ralph King (USA) 44:12  Gayle Olinekova (CAN) 53:17
3rd 1980  Greg Meyer (USA) 43:40  Grete Waitz (NOR) 48:01
4th 1981  Ric Rojas (USA) 43:12  Grete Waitz (NOR) 48:12
5th 1982  Michael Musyoki (KEN) 43:09  Grete Waitz (NOR) 48:26
6th 1983  Robert de Castella (AUS) 42:47  Wendy Sly (GBR) 48:18
7th 1984  Mike McLeod (GBR) 42:55  Grete Waitz (NOR) 47:52
8th 1985  Mike McLeod (GBR) 43:02  Grete Waitz (NOR) 48:10
9th 1986  John Treacy (IRL) 42:59  Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR) 48:00
10th 1987  Marcos Barreto (MEX) 43:17  Grete Waitz (NOR) 48:50
11th 1988  Marcos Barreto (MEX) 42:37  Liz McColgan (GBR) 47:43
12th 1989  Keith Brantly (USA) 42:50  Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR) 48:14
13th 1990  John Halvorsen (NOR) 43:25  Judi St. Hilaire (USA) 49:26
14th 1991  John Halvorsen (NOR) 43:14  Jill Boltz (GBR) 49:00
15th 1992  Valdenor dos Santos (BRA) 43:10  Wilma van Onna (NED) 49:11
16th 1993  Valdenor dos Santos (BRA) 42:41  Carmem de Oliveira (BRA) 49:03
17th 1994  Philemon Hanneck (ZIM) 42:35  Elana Meyer (RSA) 48:11
18th 1995  Josephat Machuka (KEN) 42:37  Delilah Asiago (KEN) 48:38
19th 1996  Jon Brown (GBR) 42:42  Tegla Loroupe (KEN) 48:30
20th 1997  Joseph Kimani (KEN) 43:11  Elana Meyer (RSA) 48:48
21st 1998  Gabino Apolonio (MEX) 43:23  Lornah Kiplagat (KEN) 49:24
22nd 1999  Russ Gerbers (USA) 46:48  Laura Drake (USA) 54:33
23rd 2000  Russ Gerbers (USA) 46:37  Laura Drake (USA) 52:59
24th 2001  Muchapiwa Mazano (ZIM) 48:50  Laura Drake (USA) 54:47
25th 2002  Tony Teats (USA) 46:36  Monica Joyce (USA) 55:10
26th 2003  Ronnie Holassie (TRI) 46:40  Amy Begley (USA) 52:21
27th 2004  Joep Tigchelaar (NED) 46:37  Rosa Gutierrez (USA) 55:20
28th 2005  Elias Gonzalez (USA) 48:23  Victoria Gill (GBR) 54:00
29th 2006  Elias Gonzalez (USA) 48:39  Victoria Gill (GBR) 53:47
30th 2007  Todd Snyder (USA) 45:48  Christa Benton (USA) 54:27
31st 2008  Joseph Sitienei (KEN) 46:45  Annie Cooper-Gasway (USA) 56:00
32nd 2009  Ryan Hall (USA) 43:26  Christa Benton (USA) 54:42
33rd 2010  Austin Richmond (USA) 46:49  Briana Whaley (USA) 54:05
34th 2011  Jeremy Criscione (USA) 46:22  Briana Whaley (USA) 54:05
35th 2012  Jeremy Criscione (USA) 46:55  Sara Petrick (USA) 54:59
36th 2013  Jonathan Mott (USA) 48:44  Sara Petrick (USA) 55:49


  1. ^ Miller, Jen (22 February 2014). "Going the Distance Grows Shorter for Many Runners". New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "Tampa Bay Run". Archived from the original on 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  3. ^ "Treasure Coast Running". Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  4. ^ "Marathon Guide". Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Blind Vet Runs Half Marathon". Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  6. ^ "Deployed but by no means deterred". Archived from the original on 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  7. ^ "CAF". Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  8. ^ "All Kids are Winners at Free Annual Race". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
List of winners

External links[edit]