It was billed as a fun-filled day for the whole family but it was the youngsters who stole the spotlight as 13-year-old Julia Hernandez won the Pardee Ocean View 5K Run and Walk Saturday morning.
Hernandez, an eighth-grader at Bonita Middle School, ran by herself nearly the whole race and finished the 3.1 mile course in a time of 20 minutes, 33 seconds. Twenty-nine-year-old Jason Lewis was alone over the last quarter mile and easily won the men’s 5K run in 16:16.
Lewis, who was using the run as a final tune-up for the Columbus Marathon in two weeks, ran at a 5:14 per mile pace over the course that presented a challenging hill at the start.
“We had a small group together heading up the hill at the start,” Lewis said. “I stayed with them until the top of the hill when we turned into the Ocean View Hills neighborhood and then started to take off at that point when the course turned flat. The conditions were perfect for running. It was nice and cool.”
Hernandez, who trains with her father’s Bonita Vista High School cross country team, was all alone as she came into the Ocean View Hills park for the finish. Her 20:33 time was a personal best for the youngster who will run at the prestigious Mt. San Antonio Relays next weekend. For Hernandez, a veteran age-group winner who ran a 6:36 pace, it was her first overall win.
“I looked behind me once and saw the other girl about 20 meters behind me,” Her-nandez said. “The next time I looked she was more like 30 or 40 meters behind me.”
Fifteen-year-old Chelsea Nicklen took second place in 21:07, matching the second place victory she posted in her Montgomery High School cross country meet Friday. Close behind in third place was Carrie Barnett at 21:11.
Second place in the men’s race went to 45-year-old Arno Sist, a Navy commander who runs for the Southwest Region Navy Team. He was just under a minute behind the winner, finishing at 17:11.
Also highlighting the field was Tiffany Wilson, a member of the United States National Para-Olympic Track Team. Normally a sprinter, Wilson decided to give road racing a try for the first time and finished in 32:38, running a 10:30 pace. Wilson got separated from her guide runner, her 14-year-old daughter, and ended up running the majority of the race by herself. A four-year member of the U.S. Team, Wilson is a Pan American Games medalist, winning gold medals in the long jump and high jump and bronze medals in the 100 and 200-meter sprints at the Games two years ago.
The Pardee Ocean View Hills race served as the official warm-up race for the 15th annual Arturo Barrios 5K and 10K that hits the streets of Chula Vista Oct. 26. Further information on that event, which also features the North American 5K Champions, can be found at www.eliteracing.com.