Co-workers come in 1-2 at St. Pat's Day 5K
- Created on Saturday, 17 March 2012 20:15
- Written by Dena Rosenberry
BY BRENT NEW
While some were indoors watching their basketball brackets bust, a 5K as bright as a cartoon took to the streets of downtown Colorado Springs in the 28th annual 5K on St. Patrick’s Day run Saturday.
Tommy Neal, 28, crossed first out of 3,333 registered runners in 15 minutes, 27 seconds. He passed his Boulder Running Co. co-worker Phil Rich (15:37) on the second mile and coasted from there.
“I just kept pace on the first mile because it was kind of uphill,” Neal said. “Then I took control at about the mile-and-a-half point.”
See photos from the starting line.
See photos from the halfway point.
The race started and finished on Tejon Street at Acacia Park.
For Neal, it was running or drugs.
Neal grew up on a farm in Leeton, Mo. In middle school, Neal’s excess energy distracted him from the ordeals of school routines. He couldn’t focus and his mom knew it.
She gave him a choice: run a mile each day before school or take Ritalin.
“I didn’t want to take drugs, so I got up every morning around 6:30 and ran,” Neal said. “Our driveway was about a half mile, so I just ran up and back.”
Ten seconds after Neal crossed his forgetful teammate. Rich, 31, left his timing chip in a friend’s car, so his finish won’t be in the results.
“It’s good to get second but I kind of wish it counted,” Rich said. “I noticed I left the chip, like, 15 minutes before the race and by then it was too late.”
Sean Brown was officially second in 15:45. Ana Ewing, 31, was the top woman in 19:08.
The race, completed by 3,129, kicked off the Grand Prix of Running series. The races continue from March through October. If runners want to participate in the series they must run all of the races, in either the long or short series.
The short series has Garden of the Gods 5K (May 5), Sailin’ Shoes 5K (June 16), Grand Prix Classic 10K (July 21) and Great Pumpkin 5K Run (Oct. 6).
To complete the long series runners must finish the Garden of the Gods 5Miler (May 5), Sailin’ Shoes 10K (June 16), Grand Prix Classic 10K (July 21), the Top Ten miles (Aug. 4) and Great Pumpkin 10K Run (Oct. 6).
As the race ended, streets were cleared for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade — but for the race’s top two men’s runners it was back to work.
“Yeah, I need to really get going,” said Rich, glad that he didn’t forget.