David Fuentes leads the pack in the 45th Capitol 10,000

Hard to believe but the last time the Statesman Capitol 10,000 was held live was in 2018. The event was canceled in 2019 due to severe weather and by COVID-19 surges in both 2020 and 2021. Last Sunday, the 45th edition of the race came back in style. Local ace David Fuentes conquered the hills for the men’s victory, while Anna West, a relative newcomer to Austin, topped the women’s field.

For Fuentes, it was a sweet victory. He’d run the race many times, placing as high as second in 2018. But this year, he said his mantra going into the race was, “Nobody’s beating me today.”

Taking advantage of good conditions—temperatures hovered in the mid-60s—he made good on that promise, working the hills on 15th Street and Enfield Boulevard. There he built a 10 second lead on the chase pack, which included Duriel Hardy, Mark Pinales, Mitch Ammons and Daniel Golden.

Fuentes competed on the 2016 World USA team that won gold at the Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria, and his strength as a mountain runner was on full display. By mile three (14:52) he’d built a 12-second lead, and no one was giving chase, save for one runner.

Hardy, a pediatric neurologist at Dell Children’s Medical began to close the gap on Fuentes across the South First Street Bridge. Fuentes remained strong, though, breaking the tape on Riverside Drive in 30:34, ahead of Hardy’s 30:39. Golden, the 2015 6A cross-country high school state champ and former for Longhorn, took third, clocking 31:08.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Fuentes. “I heard a quote earlier in the week that ‘the hungry lion runs fastest.’ And I was so hungry for this race. I love this race, and to win it is just so special.”

West, who ran for the University of Michigan, has a 5K PR of 15:01 and recently posted a speedy 1:15:51 taking third at the hilly Austin Half Marathon, said that she focused on shorter distances at Michigan but is looking at the longer races like the half marathon. She served notice at the Cap 10 that she’s a force to be reckoned with, outpacing top competitors Sarah Jackson and defending champ Rachel Baptista.

West hit the 5K mark at the corner of Enfield Boulevard and Winstead Lane in 17:17, while Baptista trailed in 18:01 a few steps ahead of Jackson. Onto the flats by Austin High School and the final sweep across the river to Riverside Drive, West held a 5:35 per mile pace, breaking the tape in 34:38. Jackson, the 2022 3M Half Marathon champ claimed second place in 35:52, ahead of Baptista’s 35:58.

About 15,000 people ran in the event, and for the first time in the race’s history prize money was awarded. The top three men and women picked up $1,500; $800; and $200 respectively.

Upcoming Races: Saturday, April 23, Dash 4 Donuts 4 Miler, 8:00 a.m. at the San Marcos Premium Outlet. Saturday, April 23, Longhorn Run 5K/10K at 8:00 a.m. at The University of Texas campus. Saturday, April 30, the Bobcat Prowl 5K at 8:00 a.m. Country Estates Swimming Pool in San Marcos.