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REMINDER: Please submit your new PRs, whether 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Marathon. Remember, too, that if you have advanced into another age division, then you will set a PR in that age division the first time you run a race. Also please submit comments about races and rate them. This might help others decide which race to enter and could offer constructive feedback to race directors. Race directors also have a chance to comment about the feedback.

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Getting trimmer helps runner trim
his winning time;
TCU runner gets closer to pre-surgery speed

By Fiona Green

Javier Rodriguez, Arin RiceIn mid-June, Javier Rodriguez was the overall winner at the Garden of Eden 5K in Fort Worth. On Saturday, August 2, he once again claimed the top spot in the St. Joseph's Locker 5K in Granbury. When I spoke with him after his win in June, he had two goals -- to lose weight and get faster. Fast forward six weeks and he has realized both goals. After shedding 15 pounds, he has lowered his time from 20:11 to 18:38, which he ran on Thursday evening at the 9th race of the Trinity 5000 series in Fort Worth. His time on Saturday was 18:55 on a course that was considered by several runners to be slightly long. Rodriguez is not ready to rest on his laurels and now has his sights set on breaking 17 minutes. Each week brings him closer to his goal.

Claiming the female overall title was 19-year-old Arin Rice of Aledo, who blazed through the course in 19:32. Rice is in her second year of business at TCU and was one of the school's top track runners until an injury last fall sidelined her and she underwent surgery for a hip labrum tear. After surgery she was forced to rest for three months, but is back to running 40-mile weeks. Her PR for the 5K pre-surgery was 17:33 while her post- surgery PR is 18:52. Rice has some pretty impressive stats, having clocked 4:45 for the mile and 2:09 for 800m. For now her goal is to regain her fitness level and stay healthy.

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July 26 Highlights

* The Bells, Clint and Julia, took home top honors at the Christmas in July 5K in McKinney. Clint won the race by breezing in with a 16:56 and Julia came in with a 24:02. The Dallas couple has accomplished this feat before. In the 10K, Jonathon Duty easily won with a 41:57, but Eileen Wright took the runner-up spot by one second when her 48:23 edged Brandon Martin.

* At the Epic Charity Challenge in Plano, 10-year-old Ashli Burgos won the overall female award by crossing the finish line in 19:24.1. Kenny Stice, 20, won the male race with a 17:10.6. It's not that surprising that Ashli was the first female. In April, Ashli set a Plano Pacers 10-12 female club record by racing to a time of 18:50. The previous record for the age division was 19:46, which had stood for 32 years. She also was the female overall winner in the Cook Children's 5K at Cowtown in February by clocking in at 19:56. Brings back memories of Molly Tucker of Southlake, who made her name known by winning some overall female titles at local races when she was 10 and 11. Molly ran her first 5K in 2007 when she was 10 and won the female overall title LGRAW's Bold in the Cold 5K with a 20:21. Before turning 11, Molly also won the overall female Jogging for Johnson and then set a PR of 18:43.2 by winning the overall female title at Run To Joe's in Fort Worth with an 18:43.2. She also posted an 18:45 at the Big D 5K in Dallas, though that effort didn't win the female title.

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Summer Sizzler winners train hard
in effort to achieve lofty goals

By Fiona Green

gabriel zambrano
caitlin keen

About six weeks ago we posted a report that Gabriel Zambrano had won the Some Like It Hot 5K in Fort Worth in  a time of 18:35 while pushing a baby stroller. On Saturday (July 26) morning at the Summer Sizzler XII in Arlington, he once again led the pack, this time sans stroller, and finished in an impressive 16:38, almost a minute ahead of runner-up Anthony Johnson.

Gabriel's PR incidentally is 15:32, which he ran last year at the Fireman's 5K (one of everyone's favorite races:). Perhaps what is most impressive about Gabriel is the fact that he trains alone. He has no coach or team, just plenty of discipline, talent and the constant support of his father. Soon to begin training as a diesel mechanic in Midland, Gabriel is a father to daughter, Ariel, whom he pushed to his victory in Fort Worth. He explained that his return to running was inspired by his daughter and his desire to be a good role model for her. As for future goals, he is hoping to qualify for the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon in May. While he recognizes that this is a lofty goal, he also philosophically asked the question: What's the point of having a goal if it's easy?' Good point.

Caitlin Keen breezed through the course in 18:45, easily winning the female overall title. She had hoped to break 18 minutes but said before the race that her legs felt a little tired. Keen recently graduated from SMU with an undergraduate degree in Applied Physiology and Business Administration. She has now begun her Masters in sports management at SMU and will be continuing to run for the Mustangs for her fifth year. 

When asked what her favorite distance might be, she said, ''On the track I love the 10,000 meters and the 3,000-meter Steeplechase. Both races are extremely challenging and require a certain type of personality and discipline. I enjoy testing myself and both races allow me to test my limits. Training for these distances have given me the kind of edginess and toughness I need to tackle life in a way that allows me to do so with confidence and conviction.''

As for her training schedule, it is not for the faint of heart. ''I get a full off day every 14 days and it's heaven to my legs. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are easy days with the longest I'll go being around 50 minutes and a core workout. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are my hardest days -- double runs with a weight lifting circuit to help my strength. Total mileage for these days usually ends up being 10-12 each day with usually an hour hard session in the morning and a 3-4 mile recovery run in the afternoon. Sundays are my favorite day because they're my long run days. The longest I've gone is 15 miles in 1hr:50min, but it varies week to week from 90 minutes -- 110 minutes (12-15 miles).''

She also enjoys swimming and aqua jogging and has recently started lap swimming, which makes her legs and body feel more recovered than the bike.  

Caitlin's PR for the 5K distance is 17:18 on an indoor track but her goal is to break the 18-minute barrier on the roads. She would also like to break 35 minutes for a 10K. ''I wake up each morning to these times written on my mirror so they are the first things I see when I get out of bed and the last when I go to sleep. I know from here on out it will be a mental battle. The training and the work is there, it's just going to be more about believing in myself and enjoying the journey.''

This summer, as well as enjoying several trips, she has appreciated the time to connect with her family and has surrounded herself with like-minded people who make her want to be a better person. ''I found so much joy from life this summer and really took the time to appreciate what I've been blessed with and who I have been blessed to share it with (shout out to clubDFDUB, my family, and my teammates who are currently all over the world).''

 We wish both Gabriel and Caitlin the best of luck and will be looking out for them in the future.

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Ross family make fitness a priority

By Fiona Green

cameron and donovanThe Ross family of Waxahachie make fitness a priority in their lives. On Saturday (July 13) the entire family took part in the Race against Sexism and Misogyny in Grand Prairie. Leading the way was 12-year-old Cameron, who blazed through the course in 20:38. His father, Donovan, finished just a second behind him and claimed the Masters title while mom, Lea, bravely pushed a double stroller through the course and covered the distance in 49 minutes.

The family owns and operates Temple Health and Fitness, which has facilities in Midlothian and Waxahachie. They offer guidance in various aspects of living a healthy lifestyle, specializing in everything from group training to individual programs, weight loss and weight management to meal and healthy food planning.

As for Donovan's personal fitness schedule, he mixes things by focusing on running for part of the year and coaching martial arts. He also enjoys participating in aquathons.

The family has set various goals. While Cameron hopes to soon break 20 minutes for the 5K distance (his PR is 20:13), Donovan hopes to work on getting his times back into the 17s. Lea, meanwhile, has started training for the San Antonio marathon on December 7. She will not be pushing the stroller.

Other July 13 Highlights

* It is no surprise that Elizabeth (Eder) Northern of Fort Worth was the first to finish the 25K at the El Scorcho Ocho. Elizabeth, who has many impressive showings, including winning The Cowtown female 10K on Feb. 22 and coming back the next day to win the female half marathon title, beat everyone at El Scorcho with a 1:38:58. The closest to her was Richard Garcia of Fort Worth at 1:41:05. Gono Enriquez of Ardmore, Okla. won the 50K in 3:38:53, Eloy Gonzalez of Euless was second at 3:45:13 and Todd Reynolds of Fort Worth, always a factor in long distance events, was third at 3:52:48. Of course, the feature of this event is its midnight start, which for some reason is appealing because this always sells out early.

* The Too Hot To Handle had a hot race in the 5K with four vying for the overall title. Benjamin Parva of Kingwood prevailed with a 16:24, and was followed by Joe Desantis of Frisco (16:33), Arisel Perez (16:48) and Phillip Critelli of Flower Mound (16:59).

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Celebrating!

participants holding flags

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.

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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).

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June 28-29 Highlights

three amigos

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.

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Teen wins Mid-Year Muse & Motion while
his protégé continues to improve

By Fiona Green

Tyler Forde and Chance StevensonSeveral 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.