Updated: May 27, 2012 at 12:00 am
The 5K is a people's race, a people's distance. Just about anyone can walk it in less than an hour, and it takes only moderate fitness to run it in less than a half-hour.
That's one reason there are so many runs and races of this length around town, and why the 5K attracts all fitness levels. Sunday's Double 5K - back-to-back 5K races that started and finished at America the Beautiful Park - was no exception.
Sure, Jared Abuya and Adam Rich were out there leading the way, rocketing around the flat course in about 16 minutes. But so were folks just getting into the running scene and friends who were encouraging each other to get heart healthy and lose a few pounds by pounding the path for just over 3 miles.
And there was ample evidence local youths are embracing Colorado Springs' running scene, which features an event just about every weekend of the year. The women's race, won by Traci Kresser, saw 12-year-old phenom Kayli Tabares take second place.
Abuya and Rich placed first and second in both races for the men, followed by Carl Arnold and Gerald Romero. Caroline Ratterree rounded out the women's top three. Abuya's times, 14:57.6 and 16:31.7, reflected a miscue that shortened the 8 a.m. race by about a quarter-mile.
But it was the youngest runners' spirit that ruled Sunday's doubleheader.
Tabares and sister Jalynn Tabares, 10, are regulars on the local running scene. Kayli kept a strong pace throughout and had enough gas to sprint the final 100 meters of her two races. The sisters say they'll run about 50 miles a week this summer as they train to reach new goals next year in school. Kayli hopes to hit the 5:30 mile, while Jalynn is looking to break the 7-minute mark.
Dad Travis Tabares pounds the pavement with the girls, but a minor illness kept him on the sidelines as cheerleader for the Double 5K. "I hadn't run in a while, but my girls got me back into it," he said. "They keep me hopping."
Romero has been coaching Kayli this year and sees her as a future collegiate, and perhaps, Olympic, runner. "She already has such good talent. She has a great attitude, both sisters do. They're spunky. They work hard."
Romero, also a regular at local races, is gearing up for a series of summer races, including the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run and the Barr Trail Mountain Race. And he's aiming for a 2:30 finish in this year's Pikes Peak Ascent.
Running is all about fun and fitness for the Riglers - Hailey, 11, Austin, 9, and Dallas Jr., 13 - of Canon City. They've been running for fitness a few years now, and enjoy the scene at local weekend runs.
"It's a lot of fun, just getting out and exercising, being active," Dallas Jr. said.
The siblings run a 5K nearly every day during the week as part of their home school routine with mom and dad, Dallas and Amy Rigler.
"We don't focus on the competition, but as they keep on running they'll see if they can beat last year's time at a certain race," Dallas Rigler said.
The kids first joined a fundraising run for fallen police officers and enjoyed it so much they've kept at it. "It's a good way for them to challenge themselves and it's good exercise," Amy Rigler said.
Hailey said she encourages other kids to run. "It's good to keep pushing yourself, you can keep getting better and get better times than your last race."