Local Elites are ready to race!

There are some familiar faces and some new ones competing in the elite field of this year’s Statesman Capitol 10,000. Among the familiar faces are David Fuentes, Mark Pinales, Sarah Jackson and Rachel Baptista.

Pinales, who won the 2017 3M Half Marathon appears to be in good shape, having recently placed third in the Woodlands Half Marathon in 1:08:05 on March 5th and second at the St. Paddy’s Day 5K in Dallas on March 12 in 14:21. “I’m just excited to be this fit this early on into quicker training,” commented Pinales.

Fuentes, the 2020 3M Half Marathon champ (1:06:31) ran a 2:23:04 at the California International Marathon last December, so he’s obviously in good shape. Interestingly, Fuentes was on the World USA team that won gold at the Mountain Running Championships in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria back in 2016, so the dude’s no stranger to hills.

Fuentes, 35 and Pinales, 28 share a friendly rivalry and occasionally train together.  They’ve gone back and forth on the Run for the Water 10 Miler course record. In 2018, Fuentes, a St. Edward’s cross-country hall-of-famer, hit the tape in 50:52, eclipsing Pinales’ 2017 mark. Then Pinales took it back in 2019 in a swift 49:40!

Mitch Ammons is a relative newcomer and is making his presence felt. Ammons won the 2021 Run for the Water 10 Miler last November. In that race, Ammons, who has only been running seriously for about four years, fought off Ready to Run manager Rory Tunningley to win the men’s race. He broke the tape in 50:28, ahead of Tunningley’s 51:51.

Newcomer Duriel Hardy is certainly one to watch. Hardy, a sub-30 10K runner and neurologist at Dell Children’s Medical is coming off a metatarsal stress fracture, so he’s not making any predictions. However, his 29:55 10K PR, which he ran while a student at Brown University, shows he’s got the wheels.

Sarah Jackson is definitely a familiar face. She set a PR at the 2022 3M Half Marathon, crossing the finish line in 1:15:47, after running a fast time at the California International Marathon (2:42:27) in December.

Rachel Baptista is on the comeback trail. Just last month on March 5, she took third at the Woodlands Half Marathon in 1:17:08. The former Austin High School track star won the Capitol 10,000 in 2018 before taking time off to have her first child (with Rory Tunningley). Her 2018 time of 34:08 was the fastest time in 21 years, giving Natalie Nalepa’s 1997 course record of 33:43 a scare.

Prize money is being awarded for the first time in the race’s history (top three men’s and women’s overall finishers). Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall finishers in both female and male divisions of the race: 1st Place – $1,500; 2nd Place – $800; and 3rd Place – $200.

Upcoming Races: Saturday, April 9, at 9:00 a.m., the IDEA 5K in Plugerville. Also on Saturday, April 9, the   Run With The Pack 5K at 7:30 a.m. at Lehman High School in Kyle. Sunday April 10, the Statesman Capitol 10,000 at 8:00 a.m. in downtown Austin.