By David Yon
Forgive me if I babble a little bit again (you are probably used to it by now), but in so many ways the Prefontaine 5K reflects the best of GWTC better than the much larger and well known events like Turkey Trot and Springtime. First, it has a history of some colorful and extremely competent race directors (A Dave, A Mike and two Jeff’s). I think they all have a touch of the Steve Prefontaine spirit in them. (You can figure out what that means.) It is off road and off the beaten path. It is quality. It caters to all its participants. While true to its principles, it also evolves. And most importantly, it endures. Jeff Nielsen has been at the helm since 2001 and he directed perhaps his best show yet this year.
It is likely the 2006 version was the largest number of finishers to ever complete the race. One hundred seventy six finished the open race and one hundred fifty three ran the high school cross country event. The 2006 race has “evolved” with a new course and a heavy emphasis on high school participation, but it remains a unique forest run through the around Silver Lake. The new course was generally (there are always some who sing “the way we were”) a hit as the two loop course around the lake was every bit as pretty as the old one, but offered the high school participants some better footing to help minimize the chance of season ending injuries and spectators a chance to watch more than just the start and finish. It was also much faster than the old course as the winning time for the high school race shows.
After coaching his teams from Maclay to top finishes in the early race, Gary Droze took off and won the open race in a time of 17:24, not far ahead of the new Grand Prix leader, Mike Martinez who finished at 17:52. Stephanie Liles won the women’s title breaking the 20:00 minute barrier by one second. Amy Paine was right behind in 20:07. Alicia Fenley of Maclay won the girls competition in the high school race with a time of 20:26 and Godby star Joe Franklin won the boys competition with a time of 16:46. Tyler Price was just behind also breaking 17:00 minutes with a time of 16:51. Alicia’s teammate Katy Swain was second in the girls’ race with a time of 21:04. The Maclay girls took the top four spots and place five in the top ten to win the team competition with 20 points. Lincoln was right behind with five runners in the top ten, led by Nikki Sanguiliano and Georgia Mitchell and a score of 46. The Lincoln boys took the overall title as Levon Holmes and Kurt Dietrich’s fourth and sixth place finishes led Lincoln to commanding win with five top sixteen finishes for a total of 54 points. Maclay took second with 85 points.
The year’s event also featured the second annual push up competition. One representative from each team lined up to see who could do the most push ups. Cody Vincent from Lincoln High became the first repeat winner of the Pre Push Up competition (ok it is only the second year of competition), hitting 71 before claiming the victory. The girls’ competition was won by Lauren White of John Paul II who cracked the 50 push up barrier.
The race benefited the St. Francis Wildlife Association again this year.