chicken at too hot

Even the chicken came out Saturday (July 21) to help push the Too Hot To Handle 5K, 15K to a record turnout at White Rock Lake.

Record crowd gets hot

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Although there were only 1,296 sweaty timed finishers on a warm, humid July 21st morning, Bob Wallace, owner of retail running stores Run On! said the Too Hot To Handle 5K, 15K had a registration record of almost 2,000. There probably were more finishers than recorded because the race was timed by ChampionChip and it's possible that not everyone wore a chip.

No matter. There definitely were a lot of runners and walkers who showed up at Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake in Dallas on a warm morning to participate. Fortunately, overcast skies helped keep the humidity to a tolerable level for at least an hour after the races started at 7:30.

Andrew Cook, who has qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the marathon, easily won the men's 15K with a 48:42.40 over the course that circled White Rock Lake. The former Texas A&M runner who is leaving Pilot Point to coach at Flower Mound High School next season, won by more than three minutes over runner-up Leonardo Tovar. Cook is returning to his home town and will be competing against his former high school coach at Marcus, Steve Telaneus.

Mindi Rice, 32, won the women's title in 1:01:16.11.

In the 5K, 17-year-old Mia Behm of Tyler, trying to maintain her conditioning for the next high school cross country season, won the women's division in 19:27. In the men's division, Boo Byrant, 28, of Richardson sped to a 14:23 to win, though he and a few other leaders were turned around early on the out-and-back course and didn't run the entire 3.1-mile distance. His closest challengers, though, slowed before reaching the finish line as they believed a mat some 50 yards from the finish was the stopping point. The mat actually is there to help the announcer identify the runners as they're coming in. After the pause, Alex Wallace, 17, outran fellow Plano resident Juan Sanchez, 15, to the finish and was clocked in 14:34, two seconds in front of Sanchez.

However, the first six runners were turned around too early by the lead motorcycle policemen, Wallace said. The runners were turned around at another race turnaround (the Dallas Running Club's July event), which lopped about a half-mile off their distance, according to Ken Ashby, who measured the course.

``This is more than we suspected,'' Wallace said of the turnout. ``We had 1,623 last year and I thought we'd have 1,600 to 1,800.''

Wallace said that offering an embroidered cap to the first 1,500 who picked up their packets, ad spots on Jack FM and other ads probably helped pull in more participants.

Wallace said because of the growth, the 5K will change next year and probably will be a loop rather than an out-and-back. Plus, it will start at a different time rather than at the same time as the 15K.