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What's not to like?
No wonder so many registered (601, including 78 Saturday morning) for the Lake Benbrook Half Marathon and 5K. The temperature had yet to reach 30 degrees Saturday (Jan. 30) morning, there was a frosty breeze, some icy patches on the courses, one place where about an inch of water was running across the street and, of course, the testy, big hills near the turnaround on the half marathon. I mean, what's not to like? Oh, yes, there were a few flakes of snow. It's this way most of the time at this event, though last year its reputation was almost ruined when a nice, warm day actually greeted the runners and walkers.
This Saturday morning, though, it was back to tradition. Winners in the Half were Francisco Lavariega, 30, of Dallas in 1:19:55.9 and Britt Darwin Looney, 30, of Arlington in 1:34:45.5. Yes, they were cold afterward because when the runners make the halfway turnaround, they had to butt heads with the breeze coming back. There was one nice bit of sacrifice on the part of Todd Reynolds to assure the safety of participants. Todd, the 2007 overall winner and last year's masters winner, cut short his run to direct runners past a potentially dangerous patch of ice at about the 7-mile mark. He directed them coming and going.
Meanwhile, Francisco, one of the six Azteca team members in the race, took control with a teammate, Alberto Castro, not too far behind. They said they were using the half as a training run for the Cowtown Marathon on Feb. 27, and picked Lake Benbrook over the Texas Half in Dallas because of the hills.
Britt said they had to run through the stream of water just before the first mile, but said her feet never got too cold until on the way back when she had to cross the water again. Then, her feet felt not only cold but like she was wearing cement shoes. She, too, is training for Cowtown.
Male 5K winner Justin Garcia, 18, said this morning was way colder than he is used to in the South Texas climes of his hometown Del Rio. He was visiting this area with his family and had found the run on a calendar and entered last week. But he had no thoughts of not running. ``If you're a runner, you run,'' said the high school senior.
Women's winner Jacqueline Bolt, 18, a TCU freshman in a triathlon club, wasn't sure she had won and said it was the first 5K she had competed in for a long time. ``It's freezing. I can't feel my hands. I thought about it (not coming out), but I wanted to run.''
At least one runner changed his mind about the distance he was going to run when he registered. ``I had planned to run the half, but switched to the 5K,''. said John Ball, 57, of Grand Prarie. He won the 5K males masters division in 20:43.3.
Winning the women's masters title was Cathy Buchanan, 47, in 23:24.5. In the Half, masters winners were Jeff Alexander, 40, of Fort Worth in 1:24:49.5 and Fiona Green, 45, of Keller in 1:37:43.1
At least the participants had some great hot chili, hot chocolate and nachoes after finishing. Those are other traditions that everyone likes -- especially on the ``traditional'' mornings for this event.
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