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Newcomers to road racing win at How the West Was Run 5K

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jimmy wade

Jim Wade

laura flohr

Laura Flohr

Two runners, one who is resuming his racing after almost 15 years and another who has been running for only a year, were the surprise winners at the Wild, Wild West Fest 5K in Keller on Sept. 29.

Jim Wade, 32, of Saginaw won the men's title and said he hadn't won an overall since his high school days. The victory was a surprise for two reasons. First, his time of 19:55.6 was relatively slow for winning overall, and secondly, he returned to running just a little over nine months ago.

In the women's division, Laura Flohr, 41, of Keller won her first overall title even though her time was slower than her previous outing and was a relatively show time for an overall victory. She, too, was surprised considering that she has been running for only about a year.

Since he has been lacing up his running shoes again, Wade has shed 30 pounds. That added heft was one reason he decided to resume running after a hiatus since his high school days. He ran cross country at Boswell High School about 15 years ago, and was on one of the school's state teams and was an alternate on another.

``I had had enough of it,'' he said of his added bulk that had ballooned his weight to about 208 pounds. After a little more than a month of training, he entered The Cowtown 5K and ran about a 24:30. ``Now, I'm down in the 19s. My ultimate goal is to run a 16:59. I've always wanted to break that elusive 17-minute mark. I've run a 17:01 and 17:02 back when I was younger, so that's what I'm shooting for.''

He said this was only his second overall victory, and the first came about 15 years ago at a ``tiny race. There might have been 15 people. So, this is really my first.''

He was surprised when he took the lead on the near perfect, sunny and warm morning over the course that finished on the Bear Creek Park trails after starting at the Keller Town Hall. ``After about 400 yards, I said to myself, `I might have a chance of winning this.' Then I said, `No, don't think that. Just run.'''

Wade said he changed his diet when he began exercising again, and ``I didn't compromise at all.''

Flohr, who was in decent condition because of aerobics, weight training and water skiing, said she decided to try something new with running, ``and I really liked it.''

``I decided I wanted to start running competitively. A trainer at my gym helped me out, and then I started reading books (about running),'' she said. ``I'm hoping I can continue doing this for years.''

Flohr said she likes the distances between the 5K and 15K and isn't sure if she'll ever try a marathon.

``I don't know if I'm a marathon runner...I may try a half.''

Her previous road race was in Grapevine when she ran a 21:25 to win her age group. Her winning time of 22:51.6 in Keller was somewhat of a disappointment.

Flohr, who moved from California to Texas about seven years ago, logs about 40 miles a week when she can slip in the mileage between helping her husband with their irrigation and landscaping company and tending two boys, 10 and 8. She said this was her first race since skipping road races for most of the summer.