Runners finish just before snow blankets Central Oregon

The wind was blowing, and temperatures were below freezing as a group of hardy runners left the starting line of the annual Super Bowl Sunday Dam LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Brandon Brasher, of Prineville, nears the finish line of the 10-mile division of the Super Bowl Sunday Dam Run. Brasher finished third in the race with a time of 1:07:14

However, things could have been a lot worse. By Sunday evening, snow blanketed all of Central Oregon.

It really was a beautiful day,” said race director Norm Smith. “You couldn’t have asked for a better situation because we had her all done before the snow really started to fly. It was perfect timing.”

Smith added that race participants had a good time despite the cold weather.

Ryan Kaiser, of Bend, won the feature 20-mile race with a time of 2:02:57. Kaiser was able to pull away from second-place Jason Gulley, also of Bend, late in the race. Gulley finished second with a time of 2:10:42, more than a half hour ahead of third-place Amanda Kremer (2:43:05), also of Bend.

“It wasn’t a record time, but it was close,” Smith said. “Both Kaiser and Gulley ran great races.”

Luke Walker was the first Crook County finisher on the 20-mile course, taking fourth place in a time of 2:57:10.

In addition to the 20-mile race, runners had the option of competing over three other distances.

Claudia Deenik and Jill Mercer of Bend each ran a 15-mile training run, finishing together in a time of 2:36:10. While just 15 runners chose to run the two long-distance races, a sizeable group chose to compete at both the 10-mile and 5-kilometer distances.

Frans Alajoki, of Bend, ran away from a field of 23 runners to take first in the 10-mile race with a time of 58:31. Ryan Shaffer, also of Bend, came in a distant second with a time of 1:06:15. Prineville’s Brandon Brasher finished third with a time of 1:07:14, while Jane Cleavenger, of Bend, was the first woman finisher, taking eighth overall with a time of 1:19:51.

Brennan Buckley-Noonan, a cross country star at Redmond’s Ridgeview High School, outran a field of 26 runners to take first in the 5-kilometer race with a time of 19:36. It was the first time in Dam Run history that runners competed at that distance. However, it won’t be the last. Smith noted that the distance was popular with competitors and that organizers will continue to offer the distance in the future.

Jason Townsend, of Bend, finished second in 20:18, while Prineville’s James Blanchard came away with third place in a time of 21:10. Kara Smith, of Corvallis was the first woman finisher taking seventh place overall with a time of 24:59.

Between the four distances a combined 66 runners competed in Sunday’s race.

The race was a fundraiser for the Crook County High School and Middle School track and field teams.

For complete results, see sports roundup, page A13.

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