Hammitt, Thane take 5k
Jason Gish hadn't participated in a competitive distance race in four months. But you'd never know it from his performance Saturday.
By pulling away from the rest of the pack with a mile to go, Gish won the men's 10-kilometer race (6.2 miles) in the 28th annual Riverbank Run.
"I just wanted to go out and see what would happen," Gish said afterward. "I had no idea what my fitness level was. It was kind of a test to see where I'm at.
"I just hung in there with the pack, then it dwindled down to me and the second-place guy," Gish said. "We went back and forth for a while, then I made a move going around the university and got a little bit of space down the last mile."
That "second-place guy" was Ray Hunt of Missoula, who stayed with Gish until that last leg of the race.
"The pace was pretty even from the start. Nobody really went out like a rabbit," Hunt said. "We ran pretty even and relaxed for about four miles, and that's when (Gish) picked it up. That strung out the pack of leaders. I stayed with him for about four-and-a-half (kilometers), but he was just too strong."
Gish finished the course in 32 minutes, 22 seconds. Hunt finished with a 32:41 clocking. Jonathan Huie, also of Missoula, placed third with 32:59.
Complete results were not available at press time. According to the Missoula Family YMCA, results should be available at www.ymcamissoula.com at some point this week.
Gish, who hadn't raced since January, said he trained hard for the event.
"I've been running 70 to 90 miles a week for the last couple months," he said. "I haven't raced in awhile. I was surprised. I was real happy."
Gish is a UM graduate student in sports psychology. He came to Missoula last fall from Shippensburg, Pa., which is located about 40 miles southwest of Harrisburg.
"It's a town of about 8,000 people," he said, "and half of them are students. I ran throughout high school and in my college years at Shippensburg University, and that's where I started to progress."
Gish took first on the men's side, but not far behind was Jennifer Draughon, who won the women's 10-kilometer. Draughon, of Missoula, crossed the finish line with many of the male front-runners.
"I was running with a pack of guys," Draughon said. "They did end up beating me, but it was good to have them there because it helped me through the middle."
Cocoa Lorraine finished second behind Draughon with a time of 37:51. Rebecca Broeder came in third at 39:31.
Draughon was clocked in 37:33. She said she ran the 5-kilometer race at last year's event, but hadn't run a 10k race in a long time.
"It's probably been three or four years," she said. "I usually run the 5k, but it's the first (10k) that I've ran since I've had my baby."
A former University of Washington distance runner, Draughon said she has been involved with running for many years. She now runs with the Mountain West Track Club in Missoula, basically for the enjoyment of it.
She added that when she typically enters a race, she wants to come in under a certain time. She said Saturday's effort "could have been a little better, but it's OK."
In his first ever attempt in the Riverbank Run, Porter Hammitt of Missoula came up a winner in the men's 5k race.
Hammitt said he used a different strategy than he usually does to come up successful.
"I always have a habit of going out too hard and paying for it later in the race," Hammitt said. "I just kind of hung back, and when we made our first turn onto Madison … I took off and hit the hill."
Mary Thane of Missoula won the women's 5k event in 17:09.
"I wanted to come in under 18 minutes, so I'm questioning if it was short," Thane joked.
Winning in the Riverbank Run is not new to Thane. She captured the 10k race in 1990.
In second place was Kachine Alduenda, of Missoula. Alduend ran the 5k in 17:38. With a time of 18:45 was Marilyn Decker, who finished third.