Women’s winner Sophie Anders with Gazelle Foundation co-founders Gilbert Tuhabonye and Peter Rauch.

The Run for the Water 10 Miler always draws out some of the area’s fast runners and Sunday morning was no exception. Mitch Ammons, one of Central Texas’ top runners, ran almost identical five-mile splits on the hilly course to successfully defend his title.

It was about 58 degrees at the start but warmed quickly into the 60s as Ammons took the race out at five-minute per mile pace headed west on Cesar Chavez, ahead of Eli Decker. He kept his lead through the hills on Pecos and Scenic Drive, hitting the half-way mark in 25:27.

The worst of the hills behind him, Ammons ran the second half just a tad faster, cruising home across the finish on the South First Street Bridge in 50:43, not far off his last year’s time of 50:26, despite the humidity. Decker took second in 51:36, ahead of Jeffrey Stein, who placed third in 51:53.

“I was hoping to get Mark Pinales’ 2019 course record of 49:40 today,” said Ammons. “But the humidity prevented that. I pretty much led the race after two miles.” On September 25 Ammons had the honor of pacing the top American woman runner Keira D’Amato at the Berlin Marathon through mile 23.

“I had to take five days off after that,” he said. “Today, I’m a month out from running the California International Marathon. I’m probably in my best shape ever right now. I’ll do the 3M Half and probably the Austin Half after that,” he said.

Sophie Anders came down from Fort Collins, CO to take the women’s crown ahead of Stevi Clark. Anders, a top runner at Kingwood High School and later Texas A&M University. where she ran 4:24 for the 1,500, went out hard at 5:30 pace, and like Ammons, ran nearly even splits for the first and second halves of the race. Clark, a New Braunfels-area runner who finished in the top 10 in last spring’s Statesman Capitol 10,000, hung with Anders for the first three miles, but by the halfway mark on Scenic Drive Anders had more than a minute lead, hitting five miles in 29:22.

Anders cruised home in 58:54, ahead of Clark’s 1:00:13. Sierra Snyder was third woman overall and first master in 1:04:56.

“I didn’t feel super great. It was a little bit hot today,” said Anders, an accomplished trail runner in Colorado. “I really like hilly courses,” added Anders, who set her half-marathon PR of 1:17 at the very challenging Austin Half Marathon. “I need to get on a flat course,” though.” I’m shooting for an Olympic Marathon qualifying time at next month’s California International Marathon.”

Close to 1,000 runners finished the 10 miler, the third race of the Austin Distance Challenge. Next up is the Decker Challenge on December 11, followed by the 3M Half Marathon on January 22, 2023. The series wraps up with the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon & Half Marathon on February 19, 2023.

Upcoming Races: Sunday, November 13 at 8:00 a.m., the Cedar Park 5 Miler at Little Elm Trail in Cedar Park. Saturday, November 19 at 9:00 a.m., the Thankful Turkey 5K at the First Baptist Church on McCarty in San Marcos. Thursday, November 24 at 9:30 a.m., the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot Five Miler at the Long Center in Austin.