Westminster runner Matthew Slagle comes to the finish line Saturday in the 10K Race 4 FISH. SC photo by David Staver
Westminster runner Matthew Slagle comes to the finish line Saturday in the 10K Race 4 FISH. SC photo by David Staver

The combined age of Saturday's male and female winners in the 10K Race for FISH was 37. Matthew Slagle is 22. He's the old one. Caroline MacKenzie is 15.

This year's race on Saturday, Oct. 15, was the eighth running. Without going back in the record book, we're going to declare that a record for lowest combined age of winners. For example, last year's male winner, Ryan Stafford, was also 22, but female winner Kathryn Repperger was over 30 and a marathoner; 37 is going to be tough to beat.

It's an esoteric statistic that worn out sports writers would like, made interesting only by the two personalities that are rolled up in those brief 37 years.

Ladies first. We should say girls first. MacKenzie is a high school runner at Fort Myers High School. Her high school cross country season in going on right now, but she took time to come to Sanibel and run a race that is twice as long as a high school 5K.

She gives her time to do much more. At the age of just 15, MacKenzie is a member of the Fort Myers Track Club's Board of Directors. She came across the Sanibel Causeway Saturday to not only run, but to help the track club do its usual flawless job of conducting the race. After the race the overall female winner could be found looking at a computer with results on it. Her name was listed first, but she was more interested in helping other runners find their times.

We come to find out there is nothing unusual about this. MacKenzie helps coach a youth running group in Fort Myers where she is known as coach Caroline. She's only 15 and she's already a leader.

Slagle is also a leader. He lead Saturday's race around Sanibel from the one-mile mark on and was not threatened. He's a team leader as well.

Slagle is a senior at Westminster, Pa., College, a small liberal arts college north of Pittsburgh. The men's and women's teams under coach Tim O'Neil raised money and got some donations from alumni to come to Florida and run their training miles in paradise. They found out about the 10K Race for FISH and it was a no-brainer – run in paradise.

We came here to run. What could be better than this?” Slagle asked at the finish line.

Slagle was the overall winner, coach O'Neil won his age group and Westminster runners finished 1-2-3 in a couple of men's and women's age groups. So what could be better than that?

I'm interested in shells. Where should the team go to see a good beach?” he asked.

Don't go anywhere. You are already here,” was the response. He was pointed to Lighthouse Beach.

Both runners are already here when it comes to leading, even at he combined age of just 37.