Accustomed to racing long, Greg Leak made quick work of a short course in Kent on Saturday morning.
The 31-year-old Tacoman, a 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon, immediately darted to the front of the 10,000-kilometer pack and ran unchallenged to capture the 36th Christmas Rush Fun Run And Walk.
Leak covered the big loop, which began and ended on Russell Road, in 29 minutes, 57.1 seconds (chip timed) despite nasty, wet and cold conditions. Looking for a good, swift workout, Leak, who competes for the Tacoma City Running Club, found it in his first visit to Kent for the holiday run along the Green River Trail.
The winning time was the fourth fastest in event history, which stretches back to 1985, and the first sub-30-minutes effort since 1992.
Leak’s TCRC teammate and 2017 Kent 10K race winner, Ben Mangrum, 41, finished second in 32:53. Matthew Reisenauer, 31, of Seattle, was third (33:25) followed by Puyallup’s Liam Monaghan, 22, (34:06.6) and Auburn’s James Roach, 34, a two-time race winner (34:17.7).
“The course was great, a really fun course. The conditions? Washington weather. What can you expect?” said Leak, an All-American runner during his time at Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pa.). “My goal was to get a sub-30. It was good prep work, so I have 2½ months until the trials.”
The top three finishers from the field of 200 runners from the trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29 will make Team USA for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, July 24-Aug. 9. Leak ran a personal-best 2:14:44 to place 36th at the Berlin Marathon in October.
Leak, who grew up in Pennsylvania, came to the Northwest by way of the U.S. Army in which he served four years. He trains and runs full-time, works as a medical scribe for an orthopaedic surgeon and coaches at Bellarmine Prep.
He is confident that he will peak at the right hour for the trials.
“There’s a lot of really good runners,” Leak said, “so we’ll see what happens.”
TCRC’s Nicole O’Loughlin, 31, a Harvard graduate, took the women’s 10K win in 35:56.7. Tacoma’s Hannah Calvert, 24, (35:59.3) was second, Seattle’s Trisha Steidl, 43, (40:16.3) was third and Kent’s Katie Thompson, 28, (40:38.1) was fourth. … Enumclaw’s Dominic Deady, 19, won the men’s 5K race in 17:06.9. Seattle’s Somer Kreisman, 30, repeated as the women’s 5K winner (18:24.9). … The 10K race had 226 finishers. A total of 758 completed the 5K. … Full results can be found online.