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Opinions vary on kilometer marking, but not on difficult course

robert wright, barney snitzpouring wine

Robert Wright and Barney Snitz; participants line up for a taste of wine.

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy liked the kilometer splits, saying it made it easier to calculate his projected time.

ellen kohl

Ellen Kohn said she would prefer to have a course marked in miles.

The Vineyard Run 5K in Grapevine on Oct. 6 went European by having kilometer splits rather than mile splits. Several of the approximately 1,000 participants said it was a good idea while others more or less ignored the kilometers. One thing that everyone did agree on, though, was that the 3.1-mile course that started and finished near the Delaney Winery was a tough challenge. Overall winner Ken Hall of Colleyville said his winning time of 17:17 was the slowest he has run in two years. In fact, he was just coming off setting his personal best of 16:13 on Sept. 15 at the Maui Tacos 5K in Hawaii.

``I had calculated last night what I would be looking for,'' Hall, 41, said of the kilometer splits. ``I kept my splits and I found out there was a lot more variation from kilometer to kilometer than I would have expected.'' However, he said that probably could be explained because ``some parts of the course are uphill and others are a little flatter.'' Plus, he said the downhills were too steep to take advantage of.

Tom Murphy, a longtime area runner, said he liked the splits marked in kilometers. ``I thought it was much easier to do the division to see what I had to do to run 20 minutes for a 5K,'' he said. ``I had to run 4-minute Ks. And the course markings come along more often, so I kind of enjoyed it.''

Ruthie Tate, one of the top female masters runner in the area, said she liked the K splits. ``I told Tom (Murphy) I liked it because I didn't know what my pace was. Usually, I pay close attention, but today was so brutal I didn't even want to know how fast I was running.''

Regarding the course: ``This was a very, very difficult hilly course on a muggy day. I'm sure the times will reflect it.''

Robert Wright, another regular at area road races, was among those who sort of ignored the splits. ``To be honest, I didn't even notice it,'' he said. ``Anyway, I had read about it before so I said I wasn't going to even pay attention because I didn't want to get confused. Of course, I should know (kilometers) because I spent six years in Germany and everything is in Ks.''

Barney Snitz, another regular competitor, said he didn't mind the K markings, but ``I keep track of all my races and I like to see what I do in the miles. I wear a heart monitor, so I like to keep track. What I liked about it was there was five of them and I could count down....Headwise that made it good.''

There was one complaint he had, though. The two water stops on the course were near the tops of hills ``because I'm really sucking air and now I get up there and I've got to grab my water.'' Snitz said he had to slow too much to gulp down the water.``But I really liked the course. It's a good way to start the season.''

Ellen Kohn, who also competes regularly, said she liked the K splits except that ``I miss not knowing how I'm doing at the 1-mile mark. So, I didn't know if I was slow, fast or what.'' Kohn said she didn't try to figure her kilometer splits during the race. ``It's a little different, but I still prefer knowing where I am at the miles.''

Kohn, too, agreed that the course was a difficult challenge. ``After that last hill, you were just done,'' she said.

Of course, to help everyone forget the pain and the mental exercises, there was wine tasting available to the participants...and the lines were long.