It was the first time for everyone.
The inaugural Skyway 10K brought 7,606 competitors to the unique and challenging event to benefit local military families.
The March 4 event, held on the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, included competitors from 40 states and four countries.
They were greeted with chilly temperatures and 20-mph winds working against them.
Local runners included longtime Galati Yacht Sales employee Mickey Hooke, and Holmes Beach triathlete Sandy Meneley, who were joined by Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Stewart, Bradenton Beach code officer Gail Garneau and treasurer Shayne Thompson.
Hooke and Meneley both marveled at the organizational logistics of getting 7,000-plus runners to the starting line.
They were bused to the event in waves of about 2,500 from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to the Skyway-Palmetto rest area.
With an almost 6 percent slope, the Skyway 10K posed challenges for most runners and walkers. Meneley said her goal was to make the run to the top without walking. She accomplished that and more, finishing first in her 65+ age division at 55:43, well ahead of the 176 women in her division who took as long as 2 hours 30 minutes to complete the course.
Meneley also had other good news to share. She is now ranked No. 1 in the nation in the duathlon (run, bike, run) and has been invited to join the U.S. team at the Duathlon World Championship on the long course in Switzerland and the short course in Denmark. She also earned a No. 7 ranking in her triathlon age group and all American honors in both pursuits.
Hooke also had a great result at the event.
He prepared for the race by making eight training runs back and forth across the John Ringling Bridge in Sarasota. Hooke started in the second wave of runners and caught up with the first wave just past the 1-mile mark.
Hooke finished the race in 44:36, which place him 54th overall and first in the male 55-64 age group. Hooke’s time was 25 seconds faster than the next of the 594 age-group competitors.
Stewart, Garneau and Thompson completed the course, but their times and places weren’t available at press time.
Key Royale golf news
The action got started March 5 on the Key Royale Club golf course with the men playing their regular nine-hole, Stableford match. Chuck Patrick grabbed individual honors with a score of plus-5, edging second-place finishers John Kolojeski, Fred Miller and Dave Richardson, who finished at plus-4.
Richardson’s score helped his team — Bill MacMillan and Pat Moyna — to a combined score of plus-7 and the top spot in the team competition.
The women took to the course March 6 for a nine-hole, individual-low-net match in four flights.
Phyllis Roe and Pam Lowry both carded 1-under-par 31s to finish in a tie for first place in Flight A, one stroke ahead of Joy Kaiser.
Gloria LaDue’s even-par 32 gave her first place in Flight B. Flight C saw Cathy Rice, Jan Turner and Fran Barford all card 1-under-par 31s in a three-way tie for first place.
Marilyn Niewijk’s 1-over-par 33 gave her first place in Flight D.
Markie Ksiazek had a chipin on the first hole.
Two teams emerged from pool play with matching 3-0 records and were left to battle it out during March 7 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits. The team of Tom Farrington and Rich Brozi rolled to a 22-12 victory over the team of Neil Hennessey and Bob Lee to earn the day’s bragging rights.
Four teams advanced to the knockout round during March 10 action. Jim Waller and Adin Shank advanced to the finals with a 21-9 victory over Jim Kleiner, while Bob Lee and Bob Mason stayed alive with a 21-13 victory over John Crawford and Sam Samuels. Team Bob — Mason and Lee — stayed hot and rolled to a 24-6 victory over Waller-Shank to win the day.
Play gets underway at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by random team selection.
There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
Sign up now for adult sports
The Center of Anna Maria Island is accepting registration for new two adult leagues.
The soccer league signup continues until March 16, with mandatory evaluations set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the center. The team draft will immediately follow. The games get started March 29 with all games played on Thursday evenings.
Cost for players is $10 for members and $126 for non-members.
The adult basketball league is accepting registrations until March 30, with games set to tip off April 10. Games will be played Tuesday evenings.
Participants can sign up as an individual or a team of seven players. The cost is $10 for members and $96 for non-members.
Registration is ongoing at centerami.org or in person at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.
For more information, call 941-778-1908.