There’s nothing quite like a hometown race to rev up a runner’s engine.
Just ask 33-year-old Tim Caramore, who darted across the Higgins Avenue Bridge like a dragster at the start of the 42nd Missoula YMCA Riverbank Run.
“I have major problems controlling myself at the beginning of races,” quipped the former University of Richmond runner, who won the men’s 10-kilometer Saturday in 33 minutes.
“I was trying to run a steady pace the whole time and it did not happen. I went out a little too hard and I had a little bit of bread for breakfast and I got a cramp around the second mile. But I was able to hold it together. I was hoping to run under 33 minutes.”
Caramore, a doctor, snapped a string of five straight 10k wins by well-known Zootown runner Jimmy Grant, who did not participate. Caramore moved back to Missoula about 18 months ago and had little in the form of competition Saturday, outdistancing runner-up and trifecta winner Cory Soulliard by more than two minutes.
Trisha Drobeck, who ran in the Boston Marathon last month, posted a time of 36:49 to win her first Riverbank 10k. She also won the trifecta with a combined time of 59:51.
Saturday marked the UM grad’s first appearance in the Riverbank since 2008.
“I love running in Missoula,” she said. “It’s so fun when people know your name and cheer you on.
“It’s helpful to run on streets I know. I knew that there was going to be a mini-hill coming around campus drive. These are streets I run every day so it’s fun to go after it hard and run on the same paths a little bit harder.”
The winner of the women’s 5k was 44-year-old Nicole Hunt, who lives near Anaconda. A seven-time champ, what makes her success this spring so remarkable is she cares for 2-year old twins and a third child age 5.
“I have scaled back my training, but I’m having so much fun,” said the former Grizzly runner, who posted a time of 17:21. “I get up and run on the treadmill and I have about five interruptions in 30 minutes.”
Hunt had her hands full with a talented field that included Drobeck, among others. Hunt’s kick proved to be crucial.
“I just took off hard and the wind was at my back, so I used that as best as I could the first few miles,” she said. “Then on the way back it was in my face some I just tried to push and it did hurt, but all the people were cheering. It was just really exciting.
“For me the key thing was I was able to push the last mile against the wind. I’m not usually a wind runner but I just happened to be able to do that. It’s a great boost of confidence because there’s great competition. It gives me confidence for my next race.”
Matt Choquette, 31, of Butte, won the men’s 5k with a time of 15.41. He finished 23 seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
“I’m working myself back into shape but it was a good run,” the former Montana State runner said. “I haven’t done this one before. It was a lot of fun, lots of people out.
“The first mile I had a couple guys with me and then I kind of took off a little bit. I checked to look back a couple times to make sure I was holding on, but it was good.”
Race director Keri McHugh estimated the numbers for this year’s Riverbank were comparable or maybe even better than 2013.
“This second weekend (in May), moving it back, has been amazing,” she said. “With the energy and everybody downtown, it’s been a great turnout.
“This year we had a new title sponsor, DirecTV, and they have been super involved. Then we added online registration. Each year we’re adding and making it a race and a run – lots of families but you can still get that offical race time if you’re looking to train for something.”
Prior to the final event of the day, the one-mile fun run, parents and kids danced to “YMCA,” which was blaring from big speakers near the starting line downtown. It was a fitting end to a glorious morning, like a scene right out of the movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
2014 Riverbank run
Saturday in Missoula
Top 10 finishers
Tim Caramore, Missoula, 33:00; Cory Soulliard, 35:08; Bryce Andrews, 35:56; Tyler Johnson, 36:32; Dewey Peacock, Missoula, 37:00; Maverick Mansfield, 38:02; Jim Murphy, 38:12; Serviss Graham, 38:50; Thomas Jr. 39:11; Jesse Wright, 39:11.
Trisha Drobeck, Missoula, 36:49; Elizabeth Paddock, 37:36; Rye Palen, 39:26; Elizabeth Metcalf, 41:46; Keri McHugh, 42:43; Marisa Sowles, 43:18; Haley Pitcher, 43:34; Brittany Eubank, 43:36; Amy Hammill, 43:58; Amber Wood-Jensen, 44:18.
Matt Choquette, Butte, 15:41; Jeff Lombardo, 16:04; Drew Gottman, 16:14; Soulliard, 16:23; Andrews, 16:25; Johnson, 17:12; Riley Slayden, 17:15; Emerson Connelly, 17:18; Isaac Schmidt, 17:20; Justin Cloute 17:38.
Nicole Hunt, Anaconda, 17:21; Drobeck, 17:24; Paddock, 17:27; Lisa Minnehan, 17:59; Julie Zaranek and Emily Musco, 19:40; Sherese Lorenz, 19:47; Jenna Kaumann, 20:08; Kendra Kezur, 20:09; Molly Reimer, 20:26.
(times listed 10k, 5k, 1 mile)
Soulliard, 35:08, 16:23, 5:14; Andrews, 35:56, 16:25, 5:05; Johnson 36:32, 17:12, 5:21; Mansfield, 38:02, 17:40, 5:27; Jim Murphy, 38:12, 18:08, 5:32; Graham Serviss, 38:50, 18:13, 5:30; Thomas Jr., 39:11, 18:30, 5:38; Jesse Wright, 39:11, 18:47, 5:48; Brian Panian, 41:18, 19:39, 6:01.
(times listed 10k, 5k, 1 mile)
Drobeck, 36:49, 17:24, 5:38; Paddock, 37:36, 17:27, 5:27; Pitcher, 43:34, 20:11, 6:20; Sowles, 43:18, 20:40, 6:26; Eubank, 43:36, 20:33, 6:22; Hammill, 43:58, 21:18, 6:46; Rebecca Kyle, 44:34, 21:01, 6:30; Mikell Bodner, 45:51, 21:47, 6:47; Elizabeth Moore, 45:59, 21:57, 7:08; Meredith Petrilli, 46:44, 21:47, 6:45.