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FSU track runs away with Moose 5K

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By Pat Faherty

While her legendary track star brother was warming up for the Olympic Games in London, Violah Lagat was showing off some speed of her own last Saturday in Gadsden County.

Lagat, a track star herself at Florida State University and former All American at Central Arizona, crushed the competition at the third annual Run with the Moose 5K race at Quincy, She completed the hilly course in 18:45, nearly two minutes faster than her nearest competitor.

According to FSU sports, Lagat can compete at a high level in any race from 800 to 5,000 (5K) meters. She comes from the legendary Kenyan running family, which includes her Olympian brother Bernard Lagat.

According to USA Track and Field, Bernard Lagat has won Olympic medals for both the U.S.A. and Kenya. He currently holds seven mid-distance U.S. track records and will be competing for the U.S. in the 5,000-meter race on Aug. 8.

Now a senior at FSU, Violah Lagat, 23, is majoring in nursing and sociology and hopes to have a professional track and field career. She is expected to be on the Seminoles cross county team when the season starts in September. For 2011-2012, the FSU women’s track and field program was ranked number four in the nation.

In the Run with the Moose, Violah Lagat finished ahead of another Seminole runner, Carly Thomas, who came in second at 20:50. Duane Evans of Crawfordville was third.

The Quincy Loyal Order of Moose No. 2672sponsored the event, which attracted 52 participants. It included a one-mile fun run for local Special Olympians and all proceeds from the race benefit Special Olympics.

Participation was down about half from last year’s event when the combination of heat and tough hills surprised many runners. “We didn't raise as much as last year (it was a stellar crowd last year), but we did raise $300,” said Dawn Mackland, one of Moose volunteers.

“We can’t do anything about the hills, said James Tarpein Sr. who served as the starter and master of ceremony. He added that the lodge was considering looking at other locations for the course.