33rd annual Narbona Classic

Kipruto credits cardio for 5K, 10K wins

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

NARBONA PASS, July 5, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Former Diné College and UNM Lobos runner Nicholas Kipruto runs in first place Sunday in the 33rd annual Narbona Classic 10K race. <Br><br> BOTTOM: Up-and-coming runner Ester Beck, 12, from Albuquerque, races for the finish line to take first place in the women's 5K race at the 33rd annual Narbona Classic. Beck's time was 24:09.

I f it appeared that Kenyan runner Nicholas Kipruto was able to maintain a sense of calmness, there was a good reason for that - he was breathing.

It sounds simple but for a runner there is a proper way to breathe and that's controlled breathing.

And like any discipline this takes practice, said Kipruto, the winner of the 5K and 10K races at the 33rd annual Narbona Classic.

"It something you have to train for," Kipruto said, who recently earned his undergraduate degree in finance at the University of New Mexico. "You hear a lot of runners say they are training and it's not just about the physical strength. It's about breathing too."

Kipruto said the more you can control your breathing, the more oxygen you can take in. Otherwise it can tear you down.

"Some people breathe through their nose and some through their mouth," the former Diné College runner said. "Whatever is more comfortable for you."

In the 5K race, Kipruto made it look easy as he won the race in 18:01. After replenishing his body an hour later, he covered the grueling 10K course with a time of 34:36, which was 29 seconds off the record he set in 2009.

Of the two, Kipruto admitted the 10K was the killer even though he told the audience that he was ready to run another race.

"The 10K has two hills and I tried to set another record," he said. "I thought I was going to have it. Maybe I would have gotten it if I stayed out of the 5K and hammered the 10K."

Last year's winner, Jackson Thomas, came in a distant second with a time 39:40.

Incidentally, the recent Del Norte High graduate improved his mark by three seconds from a year ago, even though he had some doubts entering Sunday's race.

"I didn't think I was going to get a top ten finish," Thomas admitted. "I was tired and when we were hitting the hills a lot of guys were passing me. I was thinking that I should have ran some hills at home."

But as they descended the hill, Thomas made up some ground and finished second to Kipruto.

"I'm a little surprised with how I finished," he said. "I didn't feel good about this race because I didn't train for this."

Chinle's Rolanda Jumbo was the first female to cross the line in the 10K race with a time of 45:33. And just like her male counterpart, she won her race by a big margin as Jenna Thurman trailed behind Jumbo with a time of 49:22. Jumbo placed 22nd overall and Thurman placed 43rd.

"I came into this race a little out of shape," Jumbo said. "But I knew what was ahead of me so I just tried to pace myself up the hill."

Jumbo said she was hoping to run with former Ganado standout Alvina Begay but the 10-time Narbona Classic winner and Olympic-trial qualifier opted out of the race.

On Sunday, a handful of wellwishers signed a large poster board congratulating Begay for a job well done as she recently competed in the 10K race at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Valley High's Chelena Betoney came in after Jumbo and Thurman in the 10K with a time of 51:34 followed by Amber Manuelito (53:04) and Deriann Yazzie (54:16).

In the men's division, Brian Keesie finished in third place as he crossed the finish line in 40:15 ahead of Alvin Begay (40:33) and Andy Yazzie (40:43).

In the men's 5K race, Elroy Tso finished second to Kipruto with a time of 19:52 while Terrance Spencer came in third (20:33) followed by Tyrell Henio (20:57) and Myron Chee (21:07).

Albuquerque native Esther Beck won the female division of the 5K and crossed the finish line in 24:09. Hannah Antone finished second (26:12) ahead of Crystal Martin (26:17), Valene Madalena (26:17) and Christie Martin (26:22).

All together the race included 836 participants with the 5K drawing in the most at 345 runners. The 10K attracted 331. There were also more than 100 fitness walkers and 60 youth runners.

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