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These four participants had the July 4 celebration spirit at the Firecracker 5000 at Trinity Park in Fort Worth. Approximately 1,000 ran or walked the 5K and 1-mile fun run/walk on a not-too-hot but humid morning. While it might have been a festive day, the race to be first to the finish was more tense as the results had Edon Ardyli, 18, winning the male title in 17:49.9 (17:47.7 chip time), beating runner-up and masters winner Sergio Hernandez, 40, by about five seconds. Sergio, of Granbury, is a regular competitor in Fort Worth-area races. Lauren Versweyveld, 25, was the female winner. She's a former Olivet University (Ill.) runner who listed Fort Worth as her home. She was third overall and challenged for the lead with a 17:54.3 (17:52.6 chip time). Because the race is free to 70-older participants, several ''veterans'' did the 3.1-mile distance, including Ernest Lacroix, a 95-year-old from Fort Worth. He said he walks three to four miles every morning and has been walking in races about the past 10. He finished in 55:45.6 while 86-year-old Gene Brock of Arlington took top honors in the 80-older division with a 46:35.3. Pictured above are Jacqueline Rodriguez (483), Joanna Hill (476), Donna Randall (900), and Carol Stank (958). See results.
July 4-5 Highlights\
* The July 4th holiday mood continued Saturday (July 5) and the competition was sparkling in the 10K female division at the DRC Independence Run at White Rock Lake in Dallas. Laura Lamons and Jennifer Pope were shoulder-to-shoulder through the 5K mark and continued to battle over the next 3.1 miles until Laura finally prevailed by less than a second as she crossed the finish line in 43:38.3 and Jennifer came in at 43:41.2. Their chip times were even closer as Laura had 43:38.3 and Jennifer 43:38.5. Male winner David Kiplagat didn't face as serious a challenge as he won by about two minutes with a 34:46.5 (34:32.4 chip time). The 5K male race was more intense as Kennenth Stice, 20, sprinted to a 17:09.7 victory while 40-year-old runner-up Vesko Rajovic came in at 17:13.7.
* Elizabeth Northern (formerly Eder) was the first across the finish line at the Cox Running Club 4th, which was on the Trinity Trails with the start and finish at the Martin House Brewing Co. on S. Sylvania Ave. Elizabeth, 26, sprinted in with a 17:34 while the first male runner, Nicholas Beers, 35, closely followed and crossed the line at 17:41.
* Another close race was at the Liberty 5K in Denton as Jacob Perry, 18, nosed out Jackson Fountain, 17, by about three seconds when he finished with a 16:29.4. Brock Simmons, 25, was just another step behind.
* The husband/wife duo of Clint and Julia Bell of Dallas will go down as the male and female winners of the inaugural Dallas 7K/4K and they notched victories in the 4K race. Clint ran a 12:54 and Julia came in with an 18:22. In the 7K, Sam Spiegel of Dallas and Laura Sanders of Dallas will be remembered as winners of the first event. Sam ran a 25:11 and Laura a 29:59 for their victories. Keiski Mii of Midlothian was only six seconds behind Sam.
* No doubt the winner of a race who lives farther away was Bishop Stevens at the Trophy Club Patriot 5K. Bishop is from San Juan Capistrano and also was the day's oldest winner at 49. He ran a 17:19 to hold off female winner Jessica Smith, 36, (this website's 2013 Female Runner of the Year) who finished with a 17:53.
* Agustin Hernandez of Dallas, another masters runner, topped the field at the Liberty 5K at the Colony when he ran a 16:10, beating 19-year-old Adrian Guevara of Arlington by eight seconds. Madie Zimmeran of Frisco, another 19-year-old, won the female overall award with an 18:22. In the 10K, the winners were Erik Wingfield, 17, of Fort Worth (34:22) and Jessica Forsyth, 29, of Frisco (43:06).
June 28-29 Highlights
The Fort Worth Running Club conducted its annual Three Amigos 4-mile run on Saturday (June 29). The club's long-running event continues to be popular and is headed by Rodney Hart, David Cabral and Tom Murphy (left to right) -- the three amigos. Photo by Movin' Pictures, where more photos will be available. The overall winners were Jose Mejorada (22:06.2) and Jessica Smith (25:49.2).
* Fast times were the order of the day at the Plano Pacers Millet Mile and 5K on Saturday (June 28). The top 10 males in the mile race all posted times under 5 minutes with Grant Copeland, a cross country runner at UT-Arlington, leading the way with a 4:27, seven seconds ahead of Robert Gibble. On the female side, Dawn Gunnagle, who recently qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trails in the marathon, was first with a 5:02, 51 seconds in front of runner-up Jordyn Kaplan.
* Two female college runners were first and second at the Jalapeño Half in Fort Worth on Saturday. Alex Davis, 20, a top runner at Baylor, was first acoss the finish line with a 1:24:37. The runner-up was Ericka Stam, 23, a Jacksonville (Fla.) State runner and formerly at Keller Central, came in at 1:29:10. Froylan Franco, 46, was the first male with a 1:30:28.
Teen wins Mid-Year Muse & Motion while
By Fiona Green
Several speedsters showed up at the Mid-Year Muse & Motion XI 5K in Arlington's River Legacy Parks on a humid Saturday (June 28) morning. Comfortably leading the pack was 18-year-old Tyler Forde, who zipped through the course in an impressive 16:30. Forde, who has a PR of 15:44 for the distance, ran with friend and protégé, 15-year-old Chance Stevenson (pictured with Tyler on right). The two attended Martin High School in Arlington and both have trained with the Metroplex Striders under long-time coach Terry Jessup.
Forde decided to take Stevenson under his wing after being impressed by his work ethic and the fact that he succeeded in dropping his 5K times from 26 minutes to 18. While the race was not one of Stevenson's best, he still easily won his age group in 20:32.
Forde will soon be leaving for New Mexico State University in Las Cruces where he will be studying mechanical engineering and aerospace technology. Thanks to his academic achievements and his running ability, he will have almost his entire tuition and board paid (instead of $31,000 per year, he will be paying only $3,000). He feels very fortunate that he was recruited by the university, actually via the Metroplex Striders, and is looking forward to commencing studies there in the fall.
Note: Fiona won the female overall race with a 21:59.
Young leader's 18-minute hopes dashed
By Fiona Green
Lining up at the start for the Run For A Reason 5K in Hurst on an overcast Saturday morning (June 21), one young runner stood out -- 15-year-old Greg Fehriback (pictured). He looked fast and light and ready to tear up the course. When I heard he was aiming for an 18-minute 5K, I jokingly asked him to perhaps run a little slower so the rest of us wouldn't lose sight of the lead bicycle.
When the gun went off, Greg sprinted ahead and, as expected, was soon nothing but a speck in the distance. It seemed safe to bet that he would easily be the overall winner. However, luck was not on his side as the police officer on the lead bicycle suffered a vehicle malfunction, causing him to stop about half a mile from the end. Greg was then apparently misdirected up a side street, only to be told by volunteers a minute or so later that he had made a wrong turn. By the time he rejoined the pack, three runners were ahead of him and his hopes of breaking 18 minutes had disappeared. The youngster, who attends Richland High School in North Richland Hills, took it all in stride, however, and considered the race a good training run. The overall winner was listed as 30-year-old Casey Zamora, who was unable to stay around for the awards ceremony.
Many runners estimated the course might have been slightly longer than 5K but not quite as long as it was for Greg.
Other June 21 Highlights
* Clint Bell of Dallas sped to a 15:33 to win the Chris Mims Side by Side 5K in Dallas on the overcast morning, and Clint needed every step to hold off area newcomer Brian Deal. Clint has been winning or challenging in DFW races for several years and is well known in the area, and Brian, a former Appalachian State runner and now a Nike employee, made his presence known by finishing in 15:51.
* A couple of teen cross country/track runners carried off top awards at the Marcus Band 5K in Flower Mound. Kevin Carrion, 14, a student at Lewisville The Colony, won the male race with an impressive 17:34 and Ashley Scrivner, 15, a student at Coppell High won the female overall title with a 21:50.
Pushing a jogger to victory
If anyone has pushed a jogger, then you no doubt will agree that it's not an easy task. Gabriel Zambrano, 20, of Fort Worth not only pushed his 9-month old daughter Ariel at the Some Like it Hot 5K in Trinity Park, but he won the race on an overcast Saturday (June 14) morning. And he acknowledged that it wasn't a walk in the park after he finished in a gun time of 18:39.3 (18:35.5 chip time).
Gabriel hasn't been running competitively since the first of the year because of work, but has been using some of his training days to push Ariel so he could spend more time with her. He didn't know what to expect by pushing her during a race, though, and believed he had made a mistake by lining up toward the back at the start. ''I had to weave my way through several runners at the beginning,'' he said. He eventually took over the lead after a mile and wasn't challenged after that.
'''She usually falls asleep after the first mile,'' he said after finishing with a soundly sleeping Ariel on the warm (about 80) morning that was helped by the overcast and light breeze. Gabriel has won several races or challenged and this was a much slower time than what he usually posts because of pushing Ariel and lack of recent competition.
This also was Flag Day and a couple of runners carried large American flags and race director Michael Polansky had a drawing to award a flag to the winner.
Garden of Eden run is like being with family
By Fiona Green
The Garden of Eden Run might not attract the large crowds like some of the more established races in the area but it is always a memorable experience. The event takes part in a quiet Fort Worth neighborhood and is organized by a group that is raising money for the benefit of its community. Before and after the race, members of the group greet race participants by name and upon leaving the event, returning runners almost feel like they have just participated in a family reunion. A regular participant is Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price, who completed the distance without even breaking a sweat.
Overall winner Saturday morning (July 14) was 25-year-old Javier Rodriguez. He was in the Marine Corps for four years and served two terms in Iraq. Now a father of one, soon to be two, he works at the Riata restaurant in Fort Worth. Javier has run some impressive times in the past, clocking a PR of 16:18 when he was in high school. He is training around 25 miles per week and sticks to the 5K distance to try avoiding damaging his knees.
Passionate about running and the science behind it, he would make an excellent coach or personal trainer. He stays motivated by always setting new challenges for himself. At present, he is participating in a contest at work with 12 of his co-workers. Each participant donated $100 to a pot. At the end of the month, the person who has lowered his/her body fat percentage and increased muscle mass most successfully will win a cool $1,300. Javier's personal goal is to drop a few pounds and lower his 5K time. We wish him the best of luck!
Other June 12-14-15 Highlights
* Logan Sherman, 28 of Dallas posted the fastest time over the past week when he laid down a 15:22.6 (15:23.3 gun time) to win the Katy Trail 5K in Dallas on June 12. And he needed the speed because runner-up (results list him as unknown participant) came in at 15:41.7. Female winner Janice Moore, 51, of Dallas had a little more breathing room after finishing in 19:57.2 (19:59.5 gun time). Runner-up Whitney Jones, 33, of Dallas came in with a 20:22.1 (20:27.9), beating third-place Sarah Mark, 28, of Austin by seven seconds chip time but only about four seconds gun time.
* The youngest winner on June 14 was 9-year-old Nyanne Robertson of Fort Worth. Though not a blazing speed, she still beat all the females at the Juneteenth Freedom Fest 5K with a 28:09.
James Jackson keeps rolling at 47
In his prime, it was a common sight to see James Jackson (pictured left) being awarded the male overall trophy at DFW races. His times might not be as fast as they once were, but even at 47 years old James still steps into the winner's circle quite often. He won again a a warmish, humid and sunny Saturday (June 7) morning at the 5th annual Run the Rails 5K in Saginaw. James crossed the finish line at 16:31.2 (16:30.3 chip time) to easily win, and the Denton resident said this was his fifth consecutive overall victory since he won the masters race at the Cowtown Marathon in February.
His goal is to dip under 16 minutes for the 5K distance and he thought he had a shot at it in the race his son Cameron, then 18, won last year in 15:29.1 (15:27.9 chip time). But James wasn't disappointed with his time, which was about two minutes in front of his nearest challengers. He said mentally he just wasn't ready for the effort he needed. ''It's been a tough week,'' he said, noting that he ran only on Thursday the past week.
Melody Caldwell, 23, won the female race with a 21:18.3 (21:08.8). The former Boswell High School and Midwestern University runner added the title to her age division win last year.
Masters winners were Fiona Green, 49, of Keller. Fiona, who often contributes stories and pictures to this website, also was second overall female with a 21:32.6 (21:31.7). The male masters winner was Lee Roskop, 40, of Fort Worth. Lee, who has won several masters titles this year, finished in 18:54.1 (18:53.4).
Overall and masters winners received cash prizes.
Female winner watches grandfather finish his first 5K
By Fiona Green
Saturday was a special day for the Caldwell family. Not only did 23-year-old Melody win overall female in the Run the Rails 5K in Saginaw, but her grandfather Sam completed his first 5K at age 67 and her 11-year-old cousin Sarah won second place in her age group. (Melody and Sam are pictured).
Melody ran for five consecutive years for Midwestern State University cross country and track teams in Wichita Falls. She competed in the 3K steeple chase (11:34), finishing in the top 8 for her conference three years in a row. Although her time Saturday was somewhat slower than her PR of 19:01, she explained she has been taking a short break from running so her run was tough! Caldwell is studying exercise physiology and will be volunteering at Baylor over with the summer, working with patients undergoing cardiac rehab, a subject close to her heart (excuse the pun) as her grandfather experienced a cardiac event in 2008. He was fitted with a pacemaker and a stent and has been doing well ever since. After retiring two months ago, he has started walking two miles every day and is feeling great.
The Run the Rails race is one of my favorite local races. The volunteers are always friendly and helpful, the course is enjoyable and after the race, runners can cool off in a tent loaded with water sprays. They also have a chance to win one of many door prizes donated by local companies. In the past, Brooks has sponsored this event by donating free shoes to the overall winners. This year they apparently backed out at the last minute. Organizers, however, were quick to compensate the winners. Already looking forward to next year's event!
June 7-8 Highlights
* The Wounded Warrior Half & 10K in Irving drew another big crowd even though there was some rain Sunday morning (June 8). John Yoder, a 43-year-old masters runner came in from Houston to win the half with a 1:19:12. The female winner was Caitlin Keen, 21, of Fort Worth. Another masters runner took overall in the 10K as Angela Eusery, 46, of Grand Prairie won with a 45:38. But what was maybe even more noteworthy than what the winners ran was the 1:56:45 by Wally Capps of Farmers Branch. The 73-year-old's time was impressive enough, but considering he had run the Joe's Run 10K the day before and finished with a 50:30.4 makes his effort even more impressive.
* Agustin Hernandez was another masters runner, besides James Jackson, to take home some cash Saturday. The 42-year-old from Dallas, who was this website's 2012 Male Masters Runner of the Yeear, collected $150 for being the first male at the xSIGHTment 5K in Colleyville by running a 16:20, more than a minute in front of another masters runner, Vesko Rajovic, 41, of Plano. Also winning $150 was female winner Magaly Soto, 37, of Arlingotn with a 19:40.9, almost 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Rachel Williams, 20, of Tolar. Masters winners were Charlie Hart, 57, of Arlington with a 21:40.4 and Elizabeth Lawrence, 46, of North Richland Hills with a 22:42. There was a close decision in the 70-older division with Ken Brewer, 77, of Arlington crossing the line at 27:51.5 and Charles German, 70, following at 27:57.7.
* Joe's Run attracted a big crowd at Panther Island in Fort Worth for its 5K and 10K. Jessica Smith, 36, of Trophy Club and this website's 2013 Female Runner of the Year, won the female 5K with an 18:31.5, just a step behind the male winner, 53-year-old Jeff Kirk of Grand Prairie, who finished with an 18:30.9. The 10K winners were Alex Morris, 29, of Fort Worth (35:40.3) and Lauren Versweyveld, 25, of Fort Worth with a 37:47.3.
* The female winner at the DRC's Bloomin' 4-miler was decided by a fairly close race between Jordan White, 24, of Dallas and Laura Lamons, 26, of Dallas. Jordan prevailed with a 26:14.8 while Laura crossed the line at 26:36.3.