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Carlsbad Children's Race Paves Way for Serious Run

March 24, 1994|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition.

How do you expand when you're not only one of the most popular 5-kilometer road races going, but also the fastest, with eight world records broken in the last eight years?

For several years, the Carlsbad 5000 has answered that question by going after young runners, 12 and under, to help provide a base for road racing's future. The youngsters, however, won't be getting in the way of the world-class athletes who have been invited to compete: The fifth annual Junior Carlsbad will be held Saturday, whereas the Carlsbad 5000 goes off Sunday.

The Junior Carlsbad is a series of 10 separate races, ranging from a mile to a quarter-mile, run in the streets of downtown Carlsbad (off Interstate 5 in north San Diego County). There will even be 25-yard "Toddler Trots" for children 3 and under.

Fun, not speed, is the focus. Each participant receives a medal, a pack of trading cards and a race T-shirt. Celebrity athletes, including Steve Scott, will sign autographs and hand out awards.

On Sunday, the spotlight will return to pure speed. Among the invited athletes scheduled to compete are Colleen DeReuck of South Africa and Shelly Steely of the United States. Battling it out in the men's race, among others, will be 1992 winner and world-record holder William Mutwol of Kenya and Phillimon Hanneck of Zimbabwe, last year's winner. They will compete for a $40,000 total purse.

Sunday's race will also have room for more than the very best. In fact, more than 8,000 runners are expected, along with about 25,000 spectators. The post-race festivities include a fitness fair, a micro-brewery beer garden and live reggae music.

The field is so big that starting times have been staggered. A masters race, for men and women 40 and older, will begin at 7:30 a.m.; a women's race at 8:15 a.m.; men 29 and under at 9 a.m.; a wheelchair invitational at 9:30 a.m., and men 30 to 39 at 9:35 a.m.

The day's highlight for spectators, the invitational race, starts at 10:15 a.m. Mutwol ran the course (3.1 miles) in 13 minutes, 11.7 seconds in 1992, a world record that still stands.

What: Junior Carlsbad and Carlsbad 5000.

When: Junior Carlsbad begins Saturday, March 26, at 7:20 a.m. First race of Carlsbad 5000 starts Sunday, March 27, at 7:30 a.m. (Registration opens at 6:30 a.m.)

Where: Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad.

Whereabouts: Take Interstate 5 south to Carlsbad Village Drive and head west.

Wherewithal: Junior Carlsbad entry is $12. Carlsbad 5000 entry is $22. Both fees include T-shirt.

Where to call: (714) 548-4897.

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