Though the thunderstorms and lightning predicted by local meteorologists never materialized, a dense fog and 100 percent humidity blanketed downtown Austin at the 38th Annual Capitol 10,000 for the field of 20,000 runners.
Former University of Texas All-American Erik Stanley toed the start line with his first 10K victory in mind despite whatever the weather threw at him. Stanley – now 30 and owner of Trail Roots Running Group – left the field early with only Rory Tunningley on his back shoulder. The two stuck together through the first four miles of the very hilly course, averaging right at five minutes per mile. It looked as though there might be a race today.
But as the duo made the left turn under Mopac on to Winsted Lane, Stanley dropped the hammer with an impressive 4:23 split at mile 5, leaving little doubt who was in control. By the time he turned on Cesar Chavez, Tunningley was 15 seconds back and had no answer, eventually finishing in 31:26 for second place. Stanley’s winning time of 31:00 is no record-breaker but hard-earned on a day with far from ideal conditions.
“I really wanted to win today and knew I had a chance,” said Stanley who is aiming to run in San Diego in a couple weeks to try to get an Olympic Qualifier time for the 2016 Marathon Trials. “I felt good and training has been going well and I’m continually gaining confidence in my speed and my fitness.”
When asked about the 4:23 split at mile 5, he seemed surprised. “I wasn’t even really looking at my splits today, but that would explain why the last mile felt so difficult.”
Rounding out the top three was 29-year-old Matt Manly of Leander in 33:49.
In the women’s race, Rogue Athletic’s Allison Mendez was the runner to beat and she did – but barely. The 26-year-old last raced two weeks ago on the track at the Stanford Invitational, turning in a 16:11 for the 5,000 meters.
Mendez was in a lead pack of three, flanked by fellow Rogue Athletic training partner Sarah Pease and Juliane Masciana – winner of the 2015 Austin 10/20. The trio hung together through the first half of the race, barreling through the hills in 17 minutes, 42 seconds.
When it came to the finishing kick, Mendez was the strongest of the three and outpaced Pease by just six seconds to take her first Cap 10K title in 35:00. Pease crossed the line in 35:06 and the two embraced to congratulate each other as they looked back to watch Masciana finish in 35:15.
Top male Masters winners for the morning were Michael Budde (36:37), trailed by Mark Kendall (37:37) and Scott Moore of San Antonio (37:56).
On the female side, San Antonio residents Donna Mills-Honarvar (38:02) and Rochelle McClanahan (40:26) took first and second. The ageless Jennifer Fisher of Austin was third in 41:45.
In the Under-20 category, 16-year-old Anderson High distance runner Will Flanagan turned in a personal best 35:50. Travis Dowd (14) from Austin and John Davila (19) from Corpus Christi both crossed the line at 36:16.
Female under-20 top three was Belize Garza (18) in 42:38, Jamie Ashworth (14) in 43:52 and Fey Matamoros (16) in 44:34.