NEWPORT BEACH — Greg Whiteley, a former University High School runner who is living in Eugene, Ore., came home Sunday to win the Newport Beach 5K road race.
Whiteley, a five-time All-American in track and field and cross-country while at Brown University in Providence, R.I., won the men's five-kilometer race in 14 minutes 5 seconds. Danny Reed of Riverside placed second in 14:21, and former UC Irvine runner Ralph Garibaldi of San Clemente was third in 14:28.
Whiteley, who wore bright orange shorts, a white tank top and black socks and was sporting a new attitude besides the highly-noticeable outfit, ran with Garibaldi through the two-mile mark, which he passed in 8:57. Shortly after that point, Whitely pulled away from Garibaldi, who was starting to tire and was passed by Reed near the end. At the finish, Whiteley had more than an 80-meter lead over Reed. Olympian Steve Scott, who was expected to compete, ran the race only for a workout because he said he was concentrating on doing well on the track.
"I was working," said Whiteley, 24, who is pointing toward The Athletics Congress track and field championships June 12-15 in New York, where he will run the 5,000 meters. "Steve is in 1,500 shape right now and I was fortunate that he decided not to go because I'd have a difficult time racing him."
Whiteley, who lost some direction in his running career after graduating from Brown in 1989, said he has found it in his new locale.
"I really enjoy living up in Eugene," said Whiteley, who was met at the finish by his mother, Rita, and his brothers and sisters. "But I came down here because (race director) Bill Sumner asked me to and I came down to see my family."
As for the black socks?
"I just started wearing them a couple years back as a joke," Whitely said. "Now, I think they stand out and it's always important to be noticed."
In the women's race, Jeanne Lasse-Johnson of Bonita won in 16:21 over Newport Beach's Kathy Smith (16:40). Smith, 25, who is recovering from running the Long Beach Marathon last month, said she was pleased with her time.