The three leaders could not have been a more varied assortment of runners, but Valdenor Dos Santos, Mark Nenow and Brian Abshire ran tightly together for the majority of the 16th annual Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10K race Sunday, before Dos Santos pulled away in the final 100 meters to win it in a course-record 28 minutes 27 seconds.
Nenow crossed the finish line three seconds later, and Abshire finished two seconds after that to take third.
Although they matched each other, stride for stride, for much of the race, the three runners not only have widely different running backgrounds, but also are at much different stages of their careers.
Dos Santos, whose time broke John Treacy’s 1990 course record by three seconds, is a 24-year-old road racer from Brasilia, Brazil. Nenow, 35, of Fountain Valley was one of the best 10K runners ever for the United States, but is far past his prime. And Abshire, 30, of Chandler, Ariz., has the U.S. indoor record in the 3,000 meters, 7:41.57, and is training for the indoor track season.
Abshire took the early lead, with Dos Santos and Nenow right on his heels. With a little more than three kilometers remaining, they broke away from the pack and ran in a group for all but about a half-kilometer. Dos Santos charged ahead around a corner and led by a few paces on a downhill slope before Abshire and Nenow caught him again. It was apparent that chasing Dos Santos had taken its toll on the other two.
“The last three kilometers, I had to decide to press a little harder because I knew they were fast,” Dos Santos said through an interpreter.
Dos Santos made a final surge down the home stretch, leaving Abshire and Nenow to race each other.
“I thought I could catch (Nenow) in the last 100 meters, but I kind of misjudged the finish,” Abshire said.
Nenow, a former world-record holder for a 10K road race and owner of the seven-year-old U.S. record of 27:20.56 in the event on the track, was surprised at his finishing speed. He sustained a series of leg injuries in 1988 and 1989 that ended his career as a world-class runner, and now he works in promotions for an athletic shoe company. He was pleased with his time, but said he has no intentions of making a comeback.
Linda Somers, 32, of Danville, Calif., won the women’s division with a personal-record time of 32:56. Somers was challenged only by herself, along the final, gradual incline to the finish line.
“I kept telling myself, ‘This is the place I can’t slow down,’ and I think that’s why I got a P.R.,” said Somers, who won the Long Beach Marathon last year.
Edgar DeOliveira, 26, of Brazil won the men’s mile run for the second consecutive year. His time of 3:59.24 broke the course record, which he set last year, by slightly more than four seconds. Teena Colebrook, 37, of Torrance won the women’s mile in 4:52.93.
Bob Molinatti, 36, of Huntington Beach won the wheelchair division.