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David Fuentes, Tia Martinez Repeat Victories At Run for the Water; Record Field of 5000

In its rich eight-year history, the Run for the Water 10-Miler, the second race in the 2014-15 Austin Fit Magazine Distance Challenge, has become a jewel of ever increasing brilliance which becomes more and more treasured with each passing race.

On a stunningly perfect morning for racing—clear, calm 62 degrees at the start—a record field of more than 5000 runners showed up on Sunday for either the RFTW 10-Miler or 5-K which bettered last year’s combined field by more than 1000.

It was a tad humid (85 percent) at the 7 o’clock start, but nothing like last year when the humidity soared to 100 percent. Even so, it didn’t seem to slow much of the field. At least not the top end.

“Actually, I thought it was pretty nice out there,” said David Fuentes, the 27-year-old former St. Ed’s star who won the RFTW for the third year in succession. “It didn’t bother me at all.”

Not much bothers Fuentes these days who is on a serious roll. With personal records in the past year at nearly every distance, including an Olympic Trials qualifier in June in the half marathon, Fuentes has been logging heavy duty miles as he begins his buildup to the Los Angeles Marathon in March.

Although Fuentes won this year’s edition of the RWFT in 49:38, he was 30 seconds slower than last year. But, he didn’t taper for the race at all (running 90 miles this week) and spent all of Friday and Saturday on his feet at a triathlon expo, working his day job as a tech rep for PowerBar. “My legs were a little dead today,” said Fuentes.

Still, Fuentes blasted out to a lead in the first half mile heading west on Cesar Chavez and was never seriously threatened, going on to win by a minute over Austin Bussing who was second in 50:39 with Collin Smith third in 50:44. David Hickerson was fourth (50:43) and Bryan Morton rounded out the top five in 53:08.

“The only trouble I had was a little stitch going up Scenic,” said Fuentes, “but once I worked that out, I felt pretty good.”

He looked great and without any real challenge Fuentes ran easily and unpressed. (Rory Tunningley, who finished second to Fuentes last year, ran a half marathon yesterday in Cedar Park.)

“This is one of my favorite races,” said Fuentes who won $350, “and it gives me a good indication of the kind of shape I’m in now. I have some time to get ready for LA, but I’d also like to better my half marathon PR {1:04:36} in Houston in January.”

Tia Martinez is also running the US Half Marathon Championships in Houston in June, but it will only be her second half. More of a 5000/10,000-meter runner, Martinez was only running the fourth 10-miler of her life, but she, too, was a repeat winner of the RFTW.

The 26-year-old Rogue runner had a little more competition than Fuentes. Kristen Findlay and Martinez, who are teammates, ran shoulder-to-shoulder along Cesar Chavez and the long straightaway out Lake Austin Boulevard, but just past the Hula Hut where the hills begin, Martinez pulled away.

Findlay, who ran at Vanderbilt and is primarily a miler, gamely hung on to Martinez. But by the time the course turned to go down Pecos, Martinez had put 20 seconds on Findlay and then took off on the huge downhills.

“I went out a little conservatively. I think my first mile was just 5:55,” said Martinez who, because of Achilles and shin injuries, hadn’t run a race since a 5-K in Nashville in May. “Then, in the second mile I stitched and felt it the entire way.”

After flying down Pecos and then the hill on Exposition and making the turn back onto Lake Austin, Martinez inexplicably took a wrong turn in front of Magnolia’s and lost, by her estimate, 10-12 seconds.

“No excuses,” she said. “I just wasn’t paying attention.”

But that lapse gave Findlay an opening and even though she closed to within 25 seconds, she was never able to make up the gap along Cesar Chavez and the finish on the S. 1st Street Bridge. Martinez won in 57:38 with Findlay second in 58:02 and the incredible Chris Kimbrough, the 44-year-old mother of six, in third in 59:52 (nearly four minutes faster than her time last year). Cassie Henkiel, another 44-year-old, was fourth in 1:04:19 and Rose Hyak was fifth in 1:04:45.

“I feel good about my effort,” said Martinez who was more than two minutes slower than her course record time of last year (55:30). “I only really started getting back into training in August so this was a good first race back for me.”

Martinez has a full schedule on her plate in the next few months. She’ll run two cross-country races, then a 5-K in San Jose on Thanksgiving (she set her PR of 15:47 there last year) and the USA Half Champs in Houston in January which will be just her second half marathon.

But even if Martinez gets a Trials qualifier in Houston, it seems unlikely that she’ll run the Olympic Marathon Trials in LA in 2016.

“That’s not going to happen,” said Steve Sisson, her coach. “Tia is not running a marathon.”

Kimbrough was—of course—the first woman masters of the morning and finished just one spot behind the first guy masters in the person of 40-year-old Brian Schmahl of Lakeway who ran 58:43. Henkiel was second to Kimbrough and 42-year-old Patricia Vargas was third in 1:06:58.

Following Schmahl, Gerard Martinez of Cedar Park took second took second in the masters in 59:04 with Patrick Darragh third in 59:50, Patrick Montgomery taking fourth in 1:00:07 and Mike McGinn in fifth in 1:00:15. John Potts, who is 56, was sixth (1:01:31).

Other age-group winners: Jennifer Fisher in the 45-49 (1:07:31), Belinda Cross in the 50-54 (her time is incorrect), Anne Quiroga in 55-59 (1:17:12) and Barbara Fellman in 60-64 (1:26:25).

The guys: McGinn won the 45-49 (1:00:15), Tom Berton took the 50-54 (1:04:08), Potts in the 55-59 (1:01:31), John La Claire (a bearded John La Claire) in the 60-64 (1:15:21) and Manot Swasee in the 65-69 (1:12:15).

In the accompanying 5-K, JT Sullivan was the overall winner in 15:15 with Lauren Davis taking the women’s division in 18:08.

Next up in Austin Distance Challenge are the treacherous hills of the Decker Challenge Half Marathon on December 7th out at the Travis County Expo Center.

2017-10-19T00:39:02-05:00 Categories: Local Runners - Elites, Race Coverage|Tags: |