Organizers bill it as the "world's fastest 5K," and this may be one instance where the facts live up to the hype.
Last year's running of the Carlsbad 5,000 is a case in point. A pair of Kenyan runners, William Mutwol and Richard Chelimo, took charge of the race early and battled it out for the victory, finishing less than four seconds apart. Mutwol won in a blistering 13 minutes, 11.7 seconds--a new world record in the 5,000 meters.
How fast is that? The two runners ran the first mile in 4:10, the second mile in 4:16. It was the eighth time a world record had been broken in the event's seven-year history, four times by men and four times by women.
Last year's women's winner, Vicki Huber of Delaware, came in at 15:13.2. That set a U.S. record but narrowly missed the world record of 15:11 belonging to Scotland's Liz McColgan--set at the 1991 Carlsbad 5,000.
The eighth running of the race will be Sunday in Carlsbad, a seaside town in northern San Diego County. The elite field for both men and women looks to be another strong one, marked by the return of Steve Scott.
Scott won the race three straight years, from 1986 to 1988, breaking the world record twice. He skipped last year's running because of an Achilles' tendon injury, but Shauna Erkenbeck of event organizers Elite Racing Inc. said he is having a solid 1993.
Run-of-the-mill road runners needn't be intimidated by the strength of the field, however. The invitational event for elite competitors is run separately, at 9:50 a.m. The general field, expected to be more than 7,000 strong, is broken up into three starting times. The popularity of the event draws many Orange County runners, organizers say.
The same course as in previous years will be featured. Flat and very fast, the course follows California 101 along the ocean for two of its 3.1 miles. Runners climb one small hill before turning onto Carlsbad Boulevard and negotiate a couple of sharp turns before finishing.
Race-day registration for the event will be offered.