Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Molalla's Bethani Anderson wins second Freedom 5K


Francis Stanbury won the men's race with a time of 17 minutes, 13 seconds, while Anderson won the womne's race in 20:41 and becamse the event's first two-time winner.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Molalla's Bethani Anderson nears the finish of Friday's Freedom 5K, winning the women's race for the second time in three years.Bethani Anderson never cared much for running while growing up in Molalla.

Volleyball was more her speed.

Since graduating from Molalla High School in 2004, Anderson has developed a knack for distance running and showed that Friday morning at Heckard Field by winning the 3rd annual Freedom 5K race in a time of 20 minutes, 41 seconds, becoming the first two-time winner in the event.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Francis Stanbury of Redmond, Wash., surged past Beaverton's Eric Barten and into the lead about 400 meters from the finish of Friday's 3rd annual Freedom 5k at Heckard Field in Molalla.Francis Stanbury of Redmond, Wash., overtook Beaverton’s Eric Barten about 400 meters from the finish to win the men’s race in 17:13, pacing a record field of 505 runners over the 3.1-mile course.

Anderson, 27, now living in Missoula, Mont., won the inaugural women’s Freedom 5K in 2012 in 21:22. She skipped last year’s race because of conflict with work, but was back in town this year for her 10-year high school reunion on Saturday and decided to give the race another whirl.

“I just wanted to better my time from 2012, so anything under 21 minutes,” Anderson said.

Woodburn’s Sara Rodriguez set the early pace in the women’s race, but Anderson said she made her move at about the 2-mile mark along the course that followed the same route as the Molalla Giant Street Parade, which immediately followed the race.

“I pulled ahead for the last half of the race, but she (Rodriguez) was right behind me,” Anderson said. “I’m pretty competitive, so I strived to stay first. And it helped to have the fans along the race route to cheer you on the whole way. I think that’s what makes this race fun.”

Anderson said it was also a nice tune-up for the marathon she plans to run next week.

“I like to do more long distances,” she said. “This is more for fun and just to see how I can do in a shorter race. I never was a runner in high school, so it’s kind of fun as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more into running.

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Runners in the field of 505 make a left-hand turn as they pass Al Geddes Field and head toward Main Street in the early stages of Friday's Freedom 5K run.“I played volleyball, but hated running. The one-mile run in PE was like hell, but it’s changed as I’ve gotten older.”

Rodriguez, 20, finished second in 20:49, while 53-year-old Janet Howard of Portland placed third in 21:34.

In the men’s race, Stanbury followed up his second place finish in last year’s race with a five-second victory over Barten. Portland’s John Hoeck was third in 17:28 and defending champion Pake Benthin of Oregon City finished fourth in 17:38.

Decked out in a Batman t-shirt for the race, the 29-year-old Stanbury also said the parade crowd that lined the course was an inspiration.

“I think the Batman shirt helped me out a lot,” Stanbury said. “All the spectators on the course were yelling, ‘Yeah! Go, Batman!’

“I always think I have a strategy before the race, but usually it’s just to hang on and finish. As soon as you start running, I kind of stop thinking about anything else.”

by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Milwaukie's Wendi Arant (895) and 10-year0old daughter Rachel Arant cross the finish line in 44:06 at Friday's Freedom 5K run in Molalla.Barten went to the lead off the start, followed closely by Benthin, Springfield’s Guillermo Torres-Sanchez and Stanbury, in that order.

Barten still had the lead as the runners turned off Main Street and headed toward the finish, but Stanbury came on strong through the parking lot next to baseball diamond and took the lead just before hitting the Heckard Field track for the final 300 meters.

“Turning into the parking lot, I was in second place and the guy in front of me was kind of slowing down a little bit,” Stanbury said. “I started thinking, ‘Hey, I might actually win it this year.’ It feels pretty good, especially after beating last year’s champion.”

Derek Franco was the top men’s finisher from Molalla, placing 11th in 19:21.

The race also drew runners from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, and of the 505 who started the race, 481 finished.

“My goal was to have 500 to 700 runners,” race organizer Jon Knapp said. “We had 390 registered runners last year, so we had over 100 more runners this year. That shows steady growth and we hope that trend continues.”

-- Jim Beseda / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(503) 829-2301