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Austin Bussing, Cate Barrett Dominate 9th Run for the Water 10-Miler

The irony of the ninth edition of the Run for the Water—a race dedicated to raising funds for water projects in Burundi–was there was plenty of water to go around. After Central Texas dried out a little bit on Saturday from the flooding rains of Friday, there was still one more shower in the early morning hours of Sunday morning.

Unlike two years ago, when a thunderstorm delayed the start of the Run for the Water 10-miler, this year’s little spritz didn’t inconvenience anyone. But, the humidity did soar into the 80s which was certainly felt by most of the nearly 6000 participants in the 10-miler or 5-K.

With three-time winner David Fuentes out of town (working at the New York City Marathon expo) and two-time women’s champ Tia Martinez living in Oklahoma these days, that left the door open for several of the top guns in town to move up a notch or two in the pecking order.

Austin Bussing, who is primarily a steeplechaser, was definitely looking to replace Fuentes at the top. Second in last year’s RFTW, the 25-year-old Kansas grad is an infrequent road racer—he hadn’t raced at all since the USATF Nationals in June–who was using the race to test his fitness.

Give him an A.

Bussing led the field right from the start on the South 1st Street Bridge and led the parade of contenders in tow—Jeff Sadler, Bryan Morton and Collin Smith—through the first fast mile heading west on Cesar Chavez toward Austin HS in 4:45. Bussing never really let up.

The only issue Bussing faced all morning was a troublesome right calf which he strained during a workout on Tuesday. “I’m still not sure I should have run,” said Bussing after winning in 50:53. “It loosened up somewhat, but I had to back off a bit once we hit the hills {i.e., the Scenic hills} because I was worried about it a little.”

Although the calf did bother Bussing somewhat—especially after doing a cooldown—he was never really challenged and the only blip came when he led the first three guys off course near Austin HS. Instead of heading right at the corner of Veterans and Cesar Chavez, Bussing veered left toward the dog pound and Sadler and Smith followed him. They ran at least 100 meters too far which may partially account for the slower times for the leaders. Bussing’s winning time of 50:53 was 14 seconds slower than his time last year.

Sadler was second in 52:05 and Smith, a former UT runner who went to Austin HS, was third in 53:00. Smith was also third last year, but in 50:44. Bryan Morton was fourth in 53:50 and Adam Waldum was fifth in 55:04.

Sadler, who ran at Baylor, wasn’t particularly pleased with his race. “Most of my focus has been on the Cal International Marathon in Sacramento in December,” he said, “but I still hoped to run a little better this morning. I just never felt great.”

Neither did Morton who is also getting ready for CIM. “I was sick all week,” said Morton who was 50 seconds slower than last year.

Top master was Kevin Kimbell of Pflugerville. The 40-year-old finished 14th overall in 58:38, followed by Larry Bright, who is 51, in 1:00:05 and Michael McGinn, 48, who finished right behind Bright in 1:00:14. Bright was the grand masters with 64-year-old Danny Spoonts taking the senior grand masters crown in a superb 1:10:47.

The women’s race was just about as close as the men’s race. That is, not at all. Cate Barrett was just as dominant as Bussing, winning in 1:00:40. A former Baylor Bear, Barrett never let any of the other women in the picture.

The only woman who got close to her on the climb up through the Scenic hills was Amy Baker, also prepping for Cal International. Baker had closed to within 15 seconds of Barrett near the five-mile mark, but as the field made the turn onto a short uphill on Pecos, Baker’s quad cramp which forced her to walk it off for a minute.

By the time, she got back into, Barrett was long gone.

Barrett’s margin of victory widened to over two minutes with Baker holding on for second in 1:02:13. Megan Mueller was third in 1:02:49, Tiffany Marley was fourth in 1:04:07 and Jennifer Harney, the day after her 37th birthday, was fifth in 1:04:45.

The masters women were led by Jamie Hillin of Houston in 1:09:55. Julie Stansberry was second in 1:13:51 and Angelica Kelly was third in 1:13:59. Sharon Wood was the grand masters winner in 1:14:21 and 60-year-old Mary Faria smiled all the way to take the senior grand masters in 1:21:39.

The accompanying 5-K was won by 47-year-old John Davis in 16:25. Bren Treweek was second and Chris Ellis-Ferrara was third (the initial times are not correct so they aren’t included). Lauren Davis won the women’s division in 17:32 with Karen Saenz second in 18:43 and Mandy Plante third in 19:09. Michael Budde (18:19) and Carmen Troncoso (19:40) were the top masters.

Following the race, it was announced that next year’s Run for the Water will also be the Road Runners Club of America national 10-mile championship which should attract a national-class field.

The Run for the Water 10-Miler was the se3cond race in the 2015-16 Austin Distance Challenge series. Next up is the Decker Half Marathon Challenge on December 6th.

Wish

About Wish

Bob “Wish” Wischnia has more than 30 years of running industry experience across publishing, retail, web, and race organization. An Arizona State University alum, Wischnia has been a runner virtually his entire life, still competing in track and road race competitions. And in the free time he’s not pounding the pavement? He’s swimming, cycling, and catching days on the green.