And they’re off! [ FOMO Photography ]
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Youth dominates large Red Pepper Run field

It was the biggest Red Pepper Run ever run as part of the St. George Island chili cook-off.

And it was dominated by young people.

With 168 registrants for the annual 5K race, held Saturday morning, March 3, 145 runners crossed the finish line. “That’s a record number for any 5K I’ve organized,” said Shelley Shepard, which is no small feat given her distinguished reputation for being the county’s premier race organizer.

This year’s race was dominated by a pair of young people taking top honors. Franklin County High School sophomore track star Josiah Friddle, 15, from Eastpoint, bested the field with a time of 20:25. Lana McDaniel, 14, from Atlanta, Georgia, had the best female time with a 24:31.

Shelley Shepard with top finishers, Lana McDaniel, left, and Josiah Friddle. [ FOMO Photography ]

Her younger brother, Mateo McDaniel, 11, was the top youth runner, with a time of 28:32. Dad Mark McDaniel, 45, ran a 28.37.1 to finish 32nd overall, and mom Veronica, 43, ran a 28:43.6 to finish 34th overall.

The top young female finisher was Paisley Strohecker, 10, from Bristol, who ran a 32:33.

Shelley Shepard with top youth finishers, Paisley Strohecker, left, and Mateo McDaniel. [ FOMO Photography ]

Seniority did well when it came to finishes as well, as the Masters division was led by Barney Ray, 60, from Tallahassee, who ran a 22:58, and by top female finisher Sharon Rivers, 62, from Nashville, Tennessee, who ran a 28:27.

A special award given to the race’s oldest runner, Dag Solhberg, 80, from Apple Valley, Minnesota, who finished with a time of 39:13.

Dag Sohlberg, the oldest runner in the field, stands with his groupies. [ FOMO Photography ]

The following are the remaining top finishers in each of the age categories:


15-19: Makayla Demott, 42:09.2

20-24: Rachel Henley, 45:42.6

25-29: Shelby Varner, 28:24.5

30-34: Jensen Galetta, 26:52.9

35-39: Laura Dane, 25:41.7

40-44: Eden Keene, 24:38.1

45-49: Kristen Meija, 27:06.0

50-54: Genee Meleski, 25:24.8

55-59: Becky Leckinger, 28:12.8

60-64: Sharon Rivers, 28:27.9

65-69: Chris Fox, 31:31.0

70-74: Denise Marcella, 33:20.2

75-79: Linda Gunther, 47:01.4


15-19: Harper Buntin, 22:07.2

20-24: Brennan Ausloos, 20:51.4

25-29: Tanner Clemons, 26:30.4

30-34: Brad Givens, 21:53.8

35-39: Michael Schmitt, 23:06.9

40-44: Gregory Hartlage, 25:38.2

45-49: Mark McDaniel, 28:37.1

50-54: Bill Buntin, 27:31.0

55-59: Stevie McNeill, 25:11.5

60-64: Barney Ray, 22:58.6

65-69: Rob Williams, 30:58.6

75-79: Robert Marcella, 30:04.6

80+: Dag Sohlberg, 39:13.0

Noah Nixon, 6, with parents Meagan and Matthew [ FOMO Photography ]

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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