Three former Chadron State College cross country and distance runners ran away with several of the top honors during the Coulter Run that again was a major attraction during Fur Trade Days in Chadron on Saturday. Nearly 200 were involved.
One of standouts was Alejandro Garcia, a native of Pine Bluffs, Wyo., and now a teacher at Creek Valley High in Chappell. He broke his own record while winning the men’s 5 kilometer race. His time of 15 minutes and six seconds is 36 seconds faster than the record he set in 2017.
Before that, the 5k record of 16:22 was set by Ricky Trevino of Bayard in 2010.
Garcia owns the Eagles’ 3000-meter indoor and 5000- and 10,000-meter outdoor records, and was selected as the NCAA II Men’s Academic All-American of the Year when he was a senior at Chadron State in 2017.
Plaudits also must go to Chadron native Phil Duncan, who concluded his track career at CSC this spring. He pushed Garcia while finishing second in the 5k race.
Duncan had previously won the 5k four of the last six years, but this year’s time of 15:32 is by far his best and also tops the previous records posted by both Trevino and Garcia.
In short, Duncan’s time Saturday was the second best since the 5k race was started in 1997. His previous best was 17:20 in 2016.
The other ex-Eagle who did especially well Saturday is Crawford’s Dylan Stansbury, who won the 10 kilometer race in 34:04. That’s the second fastest time in that race’s 37-year history.
James McGown, then of Shelton, Neb., and later a teacher and administrator at the Sidney and Leyton Schools, set the record of 33:11 in 2002. At that time, McGown was a member of the elite Team Nebraska and prior to that had run the marathon in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
This was the fifth year in a row that Stansbury has won the 10k race during the Coulter Run. His previous best during that stretch was 35:23 in 2016.
Kiya Passero of Chadron, who will be a senior at Chadron State this fall, won the women’s 5k race in 21:08 while Jacki Musgrave of Bingham repeated as the women’s 10k winner.
Passero also won the women’s 5k in 2016, when her time was 20:56. Musgrave’s time of 50:26 this year is four seconds faster than her winning time a year ago.
Another highlight in the women’s competition saw Cathy Donohue of Chadron break her 5k record in the 60 and over age group. Her time Saturday was 26:24, compared to last year’s mark of 26:39.
There were 192 participants in the Colter Run, according to Ben Watson, one of the race directors and a member of the Chadron Rotary Club that has sponsored the race since its inception in 1980. The tally includes 37 who took part in the two-mile fun run/walk.
Watson said this year’s new finish line in the middle of Elliott Field seemed to be fun for everyone involved. A camera was trained on the runners so they could see themselves completing the race on the video board that is part of the Eagles’ scoreboard.
Fifty-nine of the 5k contestants were 18 years or younger, ranging down to 11. The oldest participant was Doug Nitsch of Chadron, who is 75. Allen Ritter of Alliance is 71 and ran the 10k.
The entries came from 11 states. For the fifth year in a row, about a dozen cross country runners from Omaha South High School took a break from a training session in the Black Hills to enter the Colter Run.
One of Chadron’s venerable citizens also helped bolster the number of race participants and spectators. Betty Reading hosted 23 family members over the weekend and a grandchild from Georgia and great-grandchildren from Utah and Idaho entered the 5k races. Other guests came to watch.