7/7/2009 5:15:00 PM New course record set at 2009 Narbona Pass Classic
Alvina Begay (44:08) the overall female winner of the 30th Annual Narbona Pass Classic 5K and 10K run.
The start of the 30th Annual Narbona Pass Classic 5K and 10K run, with Nicholas Kipruto (66) and Brandon Leslie (1) in the lead.
Anton Wero The Observer
NARBONA PASS, N.M. - If the 30th Annual Narbona Pass Classic 5K and 10K run, were a collegiate cross country meet, Team Dine College of Shiprock, N.M. would be on the winner's podium accepting the team trophy. Instead, members of the 2009 Dine College cross country team won four of the top six individual male trophies over the weekend.
No one was more excited than Nicholas Kipruto, the overall male individualist as he broke Pablo Vigil's long standing record of 34 minutes and 42 seconds for the 10K event with a time of 34 minutes and 7 seconds.
Alvina Begay was the overall female titlist, with a time of 44 minutes and 8 seconds in the arduous 10k course, which was at an estimated elevation of 8,900 ft.
Leading from the start, Kipruto never looked back.
"I was told to look out for my other challenger who is Brandon Leslie. That got me going right from the start," Kipruto said, "Not running the course before, I didn't really expect the hills to be that steep - that took a lot out of me. I didn't realize the hill was that big, but I just maintained my pace and got over the hill and just took off."
He continued, "Once I got over the top ... I realized it was all downhill [so] I just booked it. Toward the finish, I knew I could get the record, so when I saw the finish line and looked at my stopwatch. I knew I was under 34 minutes. That gave me the adrenaline rush to finish fast [and] I finished with a fast 100-yard dash. I owe this win to my training, I am very happy."
"He deserves it. He worked very hard, putting extra miles on his own," commented Abraham Bitok, coach of the six-time USCAA champion Dine College Cross Country team.
Alvina Begay, who successfully defended her overall female title stated, "I just finished the outdoor track season three weeks ago. I took a week off for the much needed rest both physically and mentally to get ready for the fall season. I come to this race just to have fun, because the running superstars of the reservation would [come] here to run.
She continued, "I just remember as a kid, my mom saying and telling me ... that if I kept running, running would do a lot of things for me, like pay for my education and travel, and I never forgot that. Narbona has a special place in my heart, because my dad ran here."
The Narbona Pass Classic 10k top 10 finishers were:
1. Nicholas Kipruto 34:07 (New Course Record)
2. Brandon Leslie 38:07
3. Lance Williams 39:46
4. Tyler Logg 40:16
5. Sebastian Hogue 42:07
6. Darrin Cayatineto 42:17
7. Alerin R. Yazzie 42:43
8. Dwight Carlson 43:01
9. Randy Nez 43:26
10. Thomas Martinez 43:28
Aaron Biah of Flagstaff, who is a sophomore at Coconino High School and a member of the cross country team, won the male division of the 2009 Narbona Pass Classic 5K in 18 minutes and 33 seconds, which was quite an improvement over last year's performance when he finished in fifth place with a time of 21:01.
Biah said after the race, "I was patient at first, then took the lead right before the one mile point of the race and picked up the pace down the hill. I began my kick with 400 meters left in the race and finished strong. My goal this coming year is to win the state individual title for the Coconino Panthers."
Chelena Betoney was the top female finisher of the 5K with a time of 22 minutes and 13 seconds.