FORT COLLINS, COLO. (July 26, 2018) — Andrew Epperson knew he’d be able to keep up a good pace in the final 5 kilometers of the FORTitude 10K on Monday.
But he didn’t know he’d be out front at that point and the first of more than 5,900 participants to cross the finish line at Canvas Stadium in the second annual running of the race.
Epperson, an assistant cross country coach at CSU, won the citizen’s race in 30 minutes, 56.55 seconds. His pace of 4:59 was about 10 to 15 seconds a mile better over the 6.2 miles than his goal.
“I didn’t see any clocks out there, so it was kind of like a marathon, where you’re just running off feel,” Epperson said. “It was fun to go out there and tear it up.”
Epperson, 27, a qualifier for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon, ran 120 miles last week as part of his training for the Oct. 7 Chicago Marathon.
So, he knew his legs wouldn’t be fresh Monday.
But he also knew the FORTitude course — starting just west of Moby Arena and looping through the Campus West neighborhood and City Park to Mountain Avenue and down Howes Street back to campus — was fast. Colorado State University’s cross country team runs many of the same streets on its daily training runs, he said.
By the time he rounded the corner from Mountain to Howes heading back toward the CSU campus, he said there were people beginning to line the streets to cheer on the runners. Their energy made him forget about his tired legs.
“It starts getting louder, and once you come down with Canvas Stadium right there in your face, it’s so incredible,” he said.
Seth Woodring, 21, was runner-up in the citizen’s race, finishing in 32:36.65.
Sayo Nomura, 29, was the first female finisher, placing 16th overall in 34:45.66.
George Kipligat of Colorado Springs was the first finisher in the USA Pro Chase event that followed the citizen’s race. He finished with a net time of 31.18.4. The professional runners start at staggered times based on previous race results and then try to catch and pass the leader.
Frankline Tonui, 24, also of Colorado Springs, had the fastest net time (29.48.3) in the Pro Chase.
AnneMarie Kirkpatrick, 36, who lives in Fort Collins, was the first female finisher in the Pro Chase in 35:12.9. Melissa Dock, 36, of Boulder, has the fastest net time (34:34.9) among women in the Pro Chase. The total prize money paid out of $23,650 makes it one of the richest races in the state, organizers said.
The race had 5,959 finishers of 6,738 registered for the event. The inaugural FORTitude 10K in 2017 had 7,725 registered participants and 6,972 finishers, race director Cliff Bosley said.