PHOTO: Justin Chaston, 42, a three-time Olympian in the steeplechase, won the 5K on St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, out-sprinting Kenyan Augustus Maiyo and the Boulder Running Company's Michael Weiss. Chaston clocked 15:07:51. In the women's race, Aubrey Till, 14, of Penrose (below) took the win with a personal best time of 18:28:55
5K on St. Patrick's Day start and finish line
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VIDEO: Start of the 5K on St. Patrick's Day. Can you see yourself!
VIDEO: More from the pack. Are you in there?
VIDEO: Interview, men's race winner Justin Chaston
VIDEO: The kids' race ... now this is some fun stuff!
Aubrey Till, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Penrose, motored along near the front of the pack in the 28th running of the 5K on St. Patrick's Day Saturday in downtown Colorado Springs.
She took a look around and liked what she saw: Plenty of fast company, but no other women runners in sight.
“I just tried to keep going from one person to the next," she said.
Till charged across the finish line in 18 minutes, 28.55 seconds, a personal best. She had won her age group in each of the last two years and was eighth overall a year ago.
But she didn't expect to win this year.
"I thought I'd be way back there, so I'm pretty happy," she said.
The race is the first in the Grand Prix of Running Series. A record 2,389 runners showed up to run and celebrate on a perfect, blue-sky day. And Justin Chaston, 42, a three-time Olympian (steeplechase) who lives in Colorado Springs, beat them all.
Chaston clocked 15:07.51 and he worked extra hard to do it, sprinting the last half mile down Tejon St. as Augustus Maiyo (27, Colorado Springs, 15:10:46) and the Boulder Running Company's Michael Weiss (30, Colorado Springs, 15:20.09) gave chase.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, and those guys at the front were really tough," Chaston said. "I was just hoping to hang in there. Usually after two miles, I get weaker, but today I got stronger, gradually reeled them in and felt good at the end.”
The men's field was loaded with fast runners, with the top seven finishing in the 15-minute frame.
"Colorado Springs has a pretty solid field," Chaston said. "I used to race in Houston and the depth in the front that we have here is far superior to what we had in Houston. We might have 2,300 runners here, you might have 10,000 in Houston, but for the racing part this is as tough as it gets."
Sarah Young, 24, of Colorado Springs, finished second in the women's race with a time of 18:50.31. Sally Sever was third, about five seconds behind.
But the day belonged to Till, who attends Mountain View Core Knowledge school in Canon City. She runs with the Zoom Track Club and travels to Denver twice a week to work out with her club teammates.
Till's Mother, Calley Till, a nine-time high school state champion in cross country, and track and field at Florence High School, said it's sometimes difficult to keep her daughter motivated. It's a big world when you're 14, after all.
"The thing that has been really big is the track club," Calley Till said. "It makes it crazy because she's up there twice a week, but it helps her."
Till runs about 25 miles a week and will compete in high school cross country this fall. She is used to tough competition. Her club team placed third in the nation in the 3,200-meter relay, and she was 19th this year in the 13-14 age group at the USA Track and Field Cross Country Nationals. Other Grand Prix races include: Take 5 in the Garden, May 7; Sailin Shoes 5K adn 10K, June 18; GP Classic 10 K, July 23; Top 10 (long series only) August 6; Great pumpkin 5K and 10K, Oct. 1.
5K on St. Patrick's Day
Men's overall Top 10
1. Justin Chaston, 42, Colorado Springs, 15:07.51
2. Augustus Maiyo, 27, Colorado Springs, 15:10.46
3. Michael Weiss, 30, Colorado Springs, 15:20:09
4. John Mickowski, 24, Colorado Springs, 15:30.89
5. Justin Ricks, 31, Colorado Springs, 15:43.13
6. James Burns, 28, Colorado Springs, 15:54.33
7. Brian Dumm, 28, Colorado Springs, 15:59.17
8. Pat McGuire, 28, Colorado Springs, 16:01.56
9. Alex Nichols, 25, Colorado Springs, 16:03.86
10. Matthew Petrocci, 26, Colorado Springs, 16:19.09
Women's overall Top 10
1. Aubrey Till, 14, Penrose, 18:28.55
2. Sarah Young, 24, Colorado Springs, 18:50.31
3. Sally Sever, 39, 18:55.74
4. Amanda Ewing, 30, Colorado Springs, 18:58.01
5. Christie Foster, 23, Colorado Springs, 19:18.65
6. Connilee Walter, 38, Colorado Springs, 19:19.57
7. Ruth Waller, 27, Fort Collins, 19:25.27
8. Lindsay Hyman, 29, Colorado Springs, 19:46.28
9. Katie Rainsberger, 12, Colorado Springs, 19:47.91
10. Kaylen Slack, 20, Colorado Springs, 20:03.33
She attends Mountain View Core Knowledge charter in Canon City. I'm pretty sure she'll run XC at Canon City High. Which post were you having problems with? Also, I don't have a photo of her crossing the finish line, unfortunately.