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Carlsbad 5-Kilometer Race Preview : World-Class Field Could Challenge Records

For a business that started in Lynn Flanagan’s kitchen in May of 1981, In Motion, Inc. has cooked up some pretty good races in the last year.

First was the Buick 10-kilometer race on March 23 that featured the top names in road running, including: Kenya’s Michael Musyoki, Peter Koech and Yobes Ondiecki, world-record holder Mark Nenow, Tanzania’s Suleiman Nyambui. Musyoki won with a fast time of 28 minutes, 12 seconds.

But Flanagan and race co-director Tim Murphy’s current race could turn out to be even better. Sunday’s Carlsbad 5-K features all of the headliners of the Buick 10-K with the exception of Nenow, plus America’s best miler, Steve Scott of Fallbrook, and 1984 Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit.

The only major road runners besides Nenow who won’t be at Sunday’s race are Mexico’s Arturo Barrios and Utah’s Ed Eyestone. Barrios is the hottest runner in the world and broke the course record at one of the country’s biggest races, the Bolder Boulder 10-K in Boulder, Colo., on Memorial Day. Barrios was scheduled to run but developed an infection in the lining of his lungs. Eyestone broke John Moreno’s world record for the 5-K on the road of 14:11 with a time of 13:52 last Saturday, but the time needs to be officially verified.

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Even without those two, Flanagan and Murphy believe the world record will be shattered Sunday. They have predicted a time as low as 13:30, and that seems justified when one examines the field.

Koech and Musyoki are ranked the No. 1 and No. 3 road runners in the world, according to Runner magazine. Koech was fourth at the Bolder Boulder behind Mexico’s Barrios, Gerrado Alcala and Francisco Pacheco. Alcala and Pacheco are in Sunday’s field, too. Add to those names Paul Donovan, who recently won the NCAA 1,500- and 3,000-meter championships for the University of Arkansas, and African Ibrahim Hussein and it is clear why Flanagan and Murphy believe the world record is in jeopardy.

Flanagan and Murphy conceived the idea for the race in January when the Carlsbad High School booster club asked them to design a race to raise money for the school. The pair employed Scott to come up with a course in Carlsbad while keeping in mind the idea of setting a world record.

“We’re really excited about this course,” Flanagan said. “We came up with a course through downtown Carlsbad ourselves, but we wanted to test it. John Walker of New Zealand happened to be in town, too. So they went out and ran it, and said we needed to do this, this and this. Both felt the new course is extremely fast.

“We got the idea because we knew the world records are soft in the 5-K. We thought it would be neat to have a race with a world record set. We’re finding, too, that the race has a broad appeal because almost anybody who runs at all can run a 5-K.”

The women also will have a good chance of breaking Betty Springs’ record of 16:09 in the event. Benoit will be pushed by Ann Audain of New Zealand; Patti Sue Plummer, who was third at the Buick 10-K, and former San Diego State runner Monica Joyce.

Most of the top races in the country offer money to the top competitors just for appearing. But Benoit will be the only one receiving appearance money Sunday. Flanagan said that’s because Benoit is expected to talk extensively with the press, attend social functions and handle other tasks not required of other runners.

So how can Murphy and Flanagan assemble a field called by many the best-ever a 5-K without appearance money?

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One reason is the prize money. Both the men and women’s division winners will receive $5,000 with a total purse of $21,000. That is the largest purse ever offered in San Diego for a foot race and the largest anywhere for a 5-K.

But Flanagan said the field has been attracted by more than just money.

“We’re careful to treat the athletes well,” Flanagan said. “Because we’ve run, we understand what their needs are and are careful to meet them. In most cases, the hotel rooms are donated and most of the plane tickets are, too. People always ask, ‘How on earth do you get the fields you do without appearance money?’ Well, that’s how it’s done.”


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