Boulder's Sean Quigley needed to make a fast decision: start out quicker than planned or wait for the early pace-setter to fall back to the pack.
Quigley, 27, and four other runners, including runner-up Sean Brown, 24, of Colorado Springs and third-place finisher Matt Tebo, 23, of Boulder, chose to attack during the Classic 10K and Circle of Hope Run on Saturday morning.
“I was hoping to pick up the pace a little later but one guy went out ahead after one mile,” Quigley said of the 6.2-mile race from Tiffany Square to Monument Valley Park. “We all caught him pretty quickly. I do not know why he started out like that.”
Quigley had good reason to want to pace himself. He is recovering from a right Achilles tendon injury suffered in January’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
“It was good,” the former LaSalle standout said. “It was my first race in four months. I am just trying to get back in shape.”
Early leader Kenneth Foster, 25, of Colorado Springs, finished sixth in 30:43. He enjoyed a 40-50-yard lead after the first mile before Quigley and the others reeled him in by Mile 2, according to Tebo.
Brown said the lead group had to keep up the pace from then on to avoid letting the main pack catch up and turn the race into a free-for-all.
“I held back for a little while but the 4-5 of us who went to the front needed to maintain our distance,” said Brown, a five-time NCAA Division II All-American (three cross country, two track) for Western State.
All three top finishers were first-time entrants in the event, which is part of the Colorado Springs Grand Prix of Running series. The longtime area race was revived by organizers John and Carol O’Donnell 15 years ago. The two races were combined this summer to help the cancer patient support organization avoid the expense of running its own fund-raising race.
Tebo, a former indoor All-American with two outdoor 5K runner-up finishes in the Big 12 Championships, took the same approach to the race as Quigley.
“I heard it was a fast course and thought this would be a good way to get back into training,” he said. “It was still tough even though the conditions were perfect; cool in the morning. It has been 100 in Boulder so I am glad I went ahead and packed my pants this morning.”
Quigley won $250 for the victory out of the $1,400 in prize money awarded.