Runners surge away from the starting line on Monday in the Palmer Lake Elementary July 4 Fun Run.
Palmer Lake Elementary Fun Run, Gallery 1
Palmer Lake Elementary Fun Run, Gallery 2
Start of the Palmer Lake Elementary Fun Run
Interview with men's race winner Dan Roberts
Interview with women's race winner Kelly Calway
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Dan Roberts is getting over a rough bout with mononucleosis and wanted to ease back into racing.
Kelly Calway has a training schedule aimed at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials and wanted to do a tempo run.
If the two of them were taking it easy on Monday in the 30th Palmer Lake Elementary July 4 Fun Run, it didn't exactly show.
Roberts, who hopes to run the 5,000 in the 2012 Olympic Trials, won with a record time. He became the first runner to eclipse the 20-minute mark in the fast 4-mile race. Roberts hit the finish line in 19 minutes, 19.3 seconds.
"I've been trying to gradually progress," said Roberts, 24. "I didn't want to a race that was too stressful. This was a good race to turn the gears and see what I had in me without feeling like there was a lot of pressure."
Roberts built a quick lead, working with Pat McGuire (Runner's Roost) and Ken Foster (U.S. Army). The three stayed together for two miles when Roberts pulled away.
"I decided to make a move and see if they would go with me ... and it worked," he said.
Foster placed third in 20:29, followed by McGuire at 21:09.
Roberts wasn't the only one to make race history. The event itself celebrated 30 years of runs along the Palmer Divide. About 625 posted finishing times in an event that supports the Palmer Lake Elementary School PTO.
The course is a runner's dream. It begins in cool temperatures at Palmer Lake Regional Park and ends in Monument. Between the start and finish are four miles of hard, smooth gravel path that parallel train tracks and rocky bluffs. And it's all downhill, losing about 250 feet in elevation.
Everybody is fast in the July 4 Fun Run. Calway an Army Captain whose husband returned home from Afghanistan (to stay) this week, charged to an early lead and was not challenged by any of the other women in the race. And there was some fast company there, including Christie Foster, who currently leads the Grand Prix of Running long series standings.
"I did this as a tempo run and I had a buddy with me reminding me that I didn't want to go out there and hammer it," she said.
Calway has posted some impressive times recently. She won the 8K at the Carmel (Ind.) Marathon Championship Weekend in 28:49 on June 11, and then placed third in the Seattle Half Marathon with a person-best time of 1:18:34.
But all of Calway's racing and training are aimed at one event, the U.S. Olympic marathon Trials, Jan. 14 in Houston.
"That's the ultimate goal," she said.
Foster placed second in 23:56, followed by third-place Heidi Robinson in 26:16.