Andy Rinne and friend at the finish of the Peace Officers' Memorial Valor Run at America the Beautiful Park.
Photo gallery from the Peace Officers' Memorial Run
Video interview with men's race winner Andy Rinne
Video Interview with women's race winner Ilea Eskildsen
Andy Rinne, 36, of Colorado Springs, defended his title in the Peace Officers' Memorial Valor Run on Saturday at America the Beautiful Park, covering the 5K distance in a new course record time of 16 minutes, 25.9 seconds.
But it wasn't easy. Jake Erickson 15, of Simla, chased him all the way to the finish line. Erickson clocked 16:28.2 to set an age-group (15-19) record.
"We cleared Mile 1 in 5:09 and he was right with me, so I knew it was going to be a fight to the end," Rinne said.
J.T. Teisher, 36, of Colorado Springs, finished third in 17:20.
The race was a fundraiser for the Peace Officers’ Memorial, which will honor peace officers who have died in the line of duty while serving the communities of the Pikes Peak Region. Since 1896, 27 peace officers in El Paso and Teller Counties have made the ultimate sacrifice. See photo below for rendering of the memorial.
The memorial will be placed at America the Beautiful Park. It is expected to cost about $1 million.
The Peace Officers' Memorial Committee is also selling pavers. From the organization's website: "Through the memorial brick campaign, you have the opportunity to immortalize your name, your family’s name, or even your company by purchasing a brick paver that will become part of the “Pathway to Honor” that leads to the Memorial."
Donate to Peace Officers' Memorial
A newcomer to the competitive racing community, Air Force Capt. Ilea Eskildsen, 25, of Colorado Springs, won the women's race and set a new course record with a time of 18:20.2.
The Colorado Running Magazine race series masters champion, Rochelle Persson, 43, of Colorado Springs, placed second with a new age-group (40-49) record of 18:41. And Ashlee Romani, 24, of Florence, was third in 19:37.2.
Eskildsen and Persson stayed together through the turn-around at about 1.5 miles. From there Eskildsen made a surge and pulled away to win.
"I tried not to look back," said Eskildsen. "I told myself if I was worried, just to run faster."
An Air Force Capt. who is teaching biology at the Air Force Academy, Eskildsen moved to Colorado Springs this summer and is looking forward to more local races. But her main target is the California International Marathon in Dec. 4 December where she'll try to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Jan. 14 in Houston. It will be her first attempt at the marathon distance.