The Statesman Capitol 10,000—set for April 8 at 8:00 a.m. is expected to attract in the neighborhood of 20,000 runners. But leading the way are a select few—commonly know as the “elites.” It’s a great term for these fleet-footed runners, indicating dedicated training combined with genetic gifts.

A number of elites are entered in the Cap 10 this year, and Ready to Run shares a sneak peek.

On the men’s side, local elite David Fuentes is entered. Recently inducted into the St. Edward’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Fuentes is a talented runner with a wide range of accomplishments. He’s won a major marathon – San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll Marathon (2011 in 2:28:10) and is a three-time Austin Half Marathon champ. He also helped the USA Mountain Running Team to two gold medals. Plus he’s got a 29:50 10K to his credit.

The 2018 edition of the Cap 10 is packed with elites.

Joe Whelan, who recently won the Austin Marathon is entered. Whelan also won the 3M Half Marathon in January, and the former Syracuse track and cross-country standout boasts a 5K PR of 14:21. No question, this guy is on a roll. But he’ll need everything he’s got to beat Joe Stilin, the ZAP Fitness-Reebok team of Blowing Rock North Carolina runner.

Stilin, an All-American runner for both Princeton and the University of Texas, has a very speedy 5,000 best of 13:32, and recently clocked a 1:03:35 at the Aramco Half Marathon in Houston. And get this – the guy is a sub-4 minute miler with a 3:58 to his credit. Last year the ZAP Fitness-Reebok team sent Andrew Colley and Johnny Crain who finished one-two in the race. This year, Stilin, who earned a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering at UT, has to be considered the odds-on favorite.

On the women’s side Ready to Run’s own Jen Hall will defend her title. In 2017, Hall scored her first big Austin-area win with a 36:41. In January Hall ran her debut half marathon, placing second in 1:17:51 at 3M. Under coach Ryan Ponzonby, she’s developed into a consummate distance runner with a wide range: last month Jen showed off her leg speed with a 4:51 at the Manzano Mile.

Allison Mendez-Cleaver is a two-time Cap 10 champ posting a 35:00 victory in 2015 and coming back to win again in 2016. She has won numerous other races, including the Austin Half Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon. A former Longhorn ace, Mendez-Cleaver returned to Austin this year after moving to Houston, and is ready for racing.

Cate Barrett won the Run for the Water 10 miler in 2015, and nearly beat her friend Mendez-Cleaver in a very close 2016 Cap 10. Since then, Barrett’s been busy—the former Baylor runner (4:24 1,500) who has a 5K best of 16:13, won the Orange Leaf Half Marathon in 2017.

So there’s your sneak peek. They’re going to be first across the finish line on April 8, but you saw it first here at the Ready to Run blog.

Upcoming races: Saturday March 31, for 8:00 a.m., the Lockhart Kiwanis 5K Stampede, at the First Lockhart Baptist Church on 315 W. Prairie Lea St. Saturday March 31, the Wicked Wine Run 5K at 5:30 p.m. at Spicewood Vineyards 1419 Burnet City Rd 409, Spicewood.