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.
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.
Francis Stanbury of Redmond, Wash., overtook Beavertons Eric Barten about 400 meters from the finish to win the mens 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 womens Freedom 5K in 2012 in 21:22. She skipped last years 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.
Woodburns Sara Rodriguez set the early pace in the womens 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. Im 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 thats 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 its kind of fun as Ive gotten older Ive gotten more into running.
I played volleyball, but hated running. The one-mile run in PE was like hell, but its changed as Ive gotten older.
Rodriguez, 20, finished second in 20:49, while 53-year-old Janet Howard of Portland placed third in 21:34.
In the mens race, Stanbury followed up his second place finish in last years race with a five-second victory over Barten. Portlands 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 its just to hang on and finish. As soon as you start running, I kind of stop thinking about anything else.
Barten went to the lead off the start, followed closely by Benthin, Springfields 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 years champion.
Derek Franco was the top mens 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.