Heather Butcher, 40, of North Port had an inkling she would take the second annual Boca Grande 4-Mile Fun Run crown right before the start of the 7:30 a.m. race Saturday.
When race organizer Joe Wier called for all runners capable of a six-minute mile to move to the front of the racing field, no other runners moved.
"I didn't think I would win at first," Butcher said as she cooled down after the run. "But then I thought maybe I would when nobody moved to the front."
Many runners tied the timing chip to their shoes for return to Zoomers Race Club officials after the race.
Butcher knew her stuff. She ran a 24.22 race averaging roughly 6 minutes per mile.
It was inevitable female runners would collect a race title on Gasparilla island, said organizer Ed Gillen of Zoomers Race Club.
"Females are dominating the scene on terms of running participation these days," he said.
What: Howl at the Moon 5K
When: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20
Where: Ann Dever Park, 6791 San Casa Drive, Englewood
Cost: $20 pre-registered, $24 day of race
You should know: Awards for race winners to third place and for best costumes.
Organizer: Zoomers Racing Club
John Richers, 57, of Englewood finished second in a time of 25:10.
"I got beat by a girl," he said with a rueful grin. "I kind of knew I would when I asked her before the race what pace she was going to be setting."
It was the first race ever run on Gasparilla Island where all official times were measured by an electronic chip given to each participant. Zoomers Race Club issued the chips prerace and gathered them back from each runner after the race.
The race attracted 143 registered runners on a humid, gray day with just a slash of orange standing in for sunrise. Runners dewed before they broke a sweat in the muggy morning but the footing was dry and firm as no rains fell throughout the evening despite the threatening clouds.