First-time winners claim Bear Paw Classic titles
Tom Tomsich’s bib number was a good omen.
Wearing No. 1, the Anchorage man won the 5K Bear Paw Classic in 15 minutes, 22 seconds on a hot Saturday, July 13.
Robert Walgren edged Tomsich at the finish line last year — both men finished in 15:11.
“I just got outkicked,” he said.
This time around, Tomsich separated himself from second place by 10 seconds.
After coming so close last year, Tomsich said it was nice to earn a victory in his second five-kilometer Bear Paw race.
Buster Hansel, of Cuero, Texas, took second and Anchorage’s Jake Moe was third. Both finished with a time of 15:32.
2012 Chugiak High graduate Isaac Lammers led all locals with a fourth-place finish. Lammers was one of five locals to crack the top 10 overall. Others included Chugiak’s Ty Jordan in fifth, Eagle River’s Esteban Trujillo in sixth, Eagle River’s John Weaver in eighth and Eagle River High cross country coach Jacob Bera in 10th.
Valerie Massie won the women’s race in 18:10. Massie, a UAA student from Snohomish, Wash., had no intention of competing in her first Bear Paw 5K when she woke up.
“I didn’t plan on running today,” she said.
After a little caffeine, Massie changed her mind.
“I had some coffee,” she said. “I guess that’s the ticket.”
Anchorage women swept the top three spots. Emma Bohman finished two seconds behind Massie and Katie Krehlik placed third. Incoming Eagle River High senior Kate Maker led all local women with a fourth-place finish while two-time defending champ Halidie Wilt took fifth.
Maker was one of three locals to crack the top 10. The others were Eagle River’s Mary O’Reilly in ninth and recent ERHS grad Hannah Stevens in 10th.
On a cloudless day with temperatures reaching the mid-70s, many of the record-high 1,034 participants were dousing themselves with water after crossing the finish line near Fire Lake Plaza.
“It’s really hot,” Massie said moments after finishing.
Fortunately the course is flat, she said, otherwise runners would have been in for an even more brutal race.
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