Running under 30 minutes for the 10K is truly the mark of an elite runner. In fact, though Austin is well-known as a thriving running community, sub-30 10Ks are rare occurrences. Eric Chirchir set the Austin city men’s record for the 10K of 29:03 back in 2008 at the IBM Uptown Classic. And as far as we can tell, you have to go back five years to Scott McPherson’s 2014 Statesman Capitol 10,000 win in 29:36 to find a 10,000-meter victory in Austin that starts with the number 29…That’s because it’s not an easy feat: you have to average around 4:45 per mile to do it.
So, when Mark Pinales, the 2017 3M Half Marathon champ and former Longhorn distance ace, ran a speedy 29:32 last week at Austin’s Sunshine 10K, it turned a few heads.
Pinales had been planning on running last month’s Capitol 10,000, as were three-time Austin Half Marathon champ David Fuentes and 2019 3M champ Michael Morris. But when that race got rained out, the runners decided to test their 10K-race fitness at the Sunshine Run.
Pinales had a solid three-to-four-month training base and was coming off a nice win at the Silo District Half Marathon in Waco, where he posted a 1:07:33 and picked up a victory check for $3,000.
“I had paced some heats at a track meet the night before and decided to run the Sunshine 10K at the last minute,” said Pinales.
When the starting horn blew, Pinales, figured he’d run about a 4:50-4:55 first mile.
But Fuentes had other plans.
“David threw down a 4:31,” said Pinales. “Basically I stayed with him the whole time. We were together the entire time until the last mile.”
That’s when Pinales turned up the heat.
“I started to peel away. I was as patient as I could and was struggling to stay with him the entire time,” said Pinales. “I saw an opening and decided to take it and give it my all. It was all or nothing effort.”
With just more than a mile to go, Pinales flew down Cesar Chavez, turning onto the First Street Bridge to finish on Riverside Drive, similar to the Capitol 10,000, breaking the tape in 29:32. Fuentes also ran a stellar time, clocking a 29:46 for second place. Morris came in third timed in 31:53.
Kerrville’s Emily Parker topped the women’s field in a swift 36:49 ahead of Morgan Goodwin of Truckee, CA, who ran 38:59. Full race results are here.
“Running a 10K at a sub-five-minute pace is something I haven’t done in a long time,” commented Pinales. “It’s close to my college times. It was a little windy and hot, too.”
Pinales, 26, has been running 60-70 miles a week despite a busy schedule working as a financial advisor. His long-term goals include an Olympic Trials Marathon Trials qualifier, and he’s targeting the Grandma’s Half Marathon in June. He’ll be running a few local races coming up, including the American Hero 25K Relays in San Antonio National Championship on May 26, and the Fit Foodie 5K in Round Rock on June 1.
“Just some fun races to try to win some prize money and go out there and enjoy it,” said Pinales.
Upcoming Races: Saturday, May 18, Front Porch Days Half Marathon, 10K and 5K at 6:30 a.m., 5940 McNaughton in Kyle. Sunday, May 19 at 8:00 a.m., the Deutschen Pfest 5K at Pfluger Hall (203 East Pecan Street Pflugerville).