It was a blue-bird Colorado morning in Manitou Springs for the 35th running of the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run.
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Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run Start/Finish Line
Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run...It's all about the people
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Mario Macias talks about winning 2011 Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run
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There was no strategy behind Mario Macias' victory in the 35th running of the 2011 Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run on Sunday.
Macias (above left), who runs for the Boulder Running Company, bolted from the starting line in Manitou Springs, took the lead after about 100 meters and held it through every step of the historic and beautiful course.
On a perfect blue-sky day, with a field of at least 1,564 runners behind him, Macias hit the finish line in 51 minutes, 55 seconds, a 30-34 age-group course record. His time wasn't as good as last year, when he placed second. But he'll take it.
"I was 54 seconds slower, but it's kind of hard when you do it on your own," he said.
The 30-year-old from Alamosa blew away everybody. Second-place Brandon Birdsong, also of Alamosa, cruised in at 55:30. Manitou Spring's Pater Maksimow was third in 57:04, followed by Colorado Springs' Tommy Manning (57:44).
Nuta Olaru (above left), 40, of Longmont (she was born in Romania) won the women's race in 1:01:40. She had a goal of setting the course record, but took a bad step in the last mile and nearly fell.
"My legs went out from under me," she said. "It slowed me down."
The women's record (58:49) would have been difficult with fresh legs over the last mile of the tough Garden of the Gods course, which has broken the spirit of elite runners for years. Her winning time, did set masters and age-group (40-44) course records, however.
Lindsey Scherf, 24, of San Francisco placed second in 1:04:06, while Kelsey Jones, 24, of Denver followed in 1:05:54.
Overall it was a fast day in the Garden with five seven age-group records set, including those forged by Macias and Olaru.
The others who put their names in the record books include:
Zachary Alhamra (right), 14, of Colorado Springs with a new 0-14 age-group mark of
1:04:58. He broke his own record (1:06:40) set last year.
Peter Fleming, 50, of Colorado Springs, set a new 50-54 mark record of 1:03:47.
Carol Kinzey, 63, of Pueblo, beat her own 60-64 record with a run of 1:24:04. She had run 1:24:33 in 2009.
Libby James, 74, of Fort Collins beat her own 70-74 record, finishing in 1:26:58. In 2009, she clocked 1:30:05.
Mark Maloney, 75, of Monument clocked in at 1:38:05, setting a new standard in the 75-79 group.