Run for Literacy title makes Carter’s 19th birthday more satisfying
Grant Carter couldn’t lose on his 19th birthday.
Compared to the trail runs Carter used to experience with South Tahoe High cross country coach Dominique Westlake, Sunday’s 5-kilometer run in the Run for Literacy was a breeze.
And fortunately for him and the other participants, it wasn’t the brisk wind that buffeted the Tahoe Basin on Friday and Saturday. Still, there was several slight climbs on sand and trail sections with limited passing room. But Carter didn’t need to go by anyone as he led from start to finish in the second annual event sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Reading Council, Tahoe Daily Tribune and Tahoe Mountain Milers at Lake Tahoe Community College.
“Oh yeah, when I was back in high school (Westlake) used to take us for hill repeats at Angora Ridge. That was tough, but it was fun and it paid off,” said Carter, who won the 5K in 19 minutes, 24 seconds.
“The way that he taught us is any time you can go out for a run and have fun with it. I’ve got a lot of my friends out there. We laugh, we have a good time, we tell jokes, but when it comes down to the business at hand, we get right down to it.”
Carter ran for the LTCC Kokanee cross country team last fall and plans to continue his running career with the ROTC program this fall at Oregon State University.
“I’ve lost a little bit of form from high school,” Carter said. “I’ve been lifting more here at the college. I just wanted to see what it would feel like to have a little more muscle on me to go out for a nice run.”
DJ Bickert threatened to spoil Carter’s birthday with a late rush that left him 4 seconds behind the winner.
“I just had a pace that felt comfortable to me,” Carter said. “At the end there was one guy who started to come on strong and I had to pick it up a little bit.”
Mark Vasquez-Mark was the third male in 21:39.
Missy Sandeman won her first women’s 5K by 28 seconds over Marianne Zerebko. She also was third overall with her fast-paced finish of 21:20.
“It felt great. It was just the right amount of rolling hills and nothing too hard,” she said. “I just wanted to have fun and I’m training for a longer race (10K) as well.”
Sandeman didn’t notice that Zerebko was one mistake from overtaking her.
“When I’m hitting the finish line, I’m looking at the finish line; I’m not looking at anybody around me,” Sandeman said.
Kara Cole, who won the women’s 20-29 age group, claimed third place for the women in 21:45.
Blake Taylor and Melissa Escalante claimed the men’s and women’s 10K titles.
Taylor, who recently moved to the area from San Jose, made his most important race decision during registration.
“Actually, I was going to run the 5K because I was scared of the 10K,” said Taylor, who finished the 10K in 40:54. “I’m still getting used to the altitude.”
Bob Comlossy was the nearest threat to Taylor, finishing second in 42:42. Rick Lambert represented the 50-59 age group well as he finished third in 43:45.
“I never looked behind, but I had to (today). I wanted to see if they were there, but no one was,” said Taylor, who has been training with the Tahoe Mountain Milers club. “That was like my year goal, but now I guess I’ll have to make a new one.”
Escalante posted the most exciting victory of the day as she edged Deb Devine by 1 second (45:42 to 45:43) for the women’s title. Carol Chaplin came in third in 50:11.
Before the adults took over the trails, children got things rolling with an 8:30 a.m. Kids Fun Run, covering a half-mile. Jordan Yingling was the winner and was closely followed by Casey Dixon and Connor Yingling.
Proceeds from the event will be used by the Lake Tahoe Reading Council’s projects to promote reading in the community.
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