About 5,000 people ran in-person in the first day of the Cowtown’s 5K and 10K races, with thousands more expected to run in Sunday’s longer distance races.
According to event organizers, an additional 660 others are registered to run the two distances virtually. Runners including Hadeel Aqel of Arlington braced chilly conditions early Saturday morning. Aqel said she has recently eased back into working out and initially, she did not plan to run the 5K on Saturday.
However, a member of her running group Dallas Muslim Running Club was unable to run and Aqel took their place.
“My back was hurting a little bit, but I just pushed through. Really cold, so the breathing was hard," Aqel said. "But with the energy and everybody around you running, you kind of get that extra push and you just push yourself through that finish line/ I’m just proud of myself. Actually, I was like on the verge of tears when I finished, because I didn’t think I could do it on such short notice.”
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Her brother Haitham Aqel cheered on runners completing the 5K and 10K races on Saturday, and he plans to run the ultramarathon on Sunday.
“When you see people running and enjoying each other’s company, there’s something special about the comradery that it builds with the community,” he said. “Runner’s high is a thing not a lot of people feel but when you feel it, it’s a different feeling, man. You get this sense of like euphoria. So, runner’s high is a hard thing to capture but once you capture, it’s a good feeling.”
In the Cowtown’s 44th year, roughly 15,000 runners will participate in-person during the race weekend. Half, full, and ultramarathon runners will begin their runs early Sunday morning. According to Cowtown executive director Heidi Swartz, the race weekend typically contributes $10.4 million to the Fort Worth economy.
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Jason Sands, executive director of the Fort Worth Sports Commission, described the event as a major part of the city’s sports heritage.
“This is a part of what Fort Worth is when we talk about great sports events in the city, and they do a fantastic job at the Cowtown Marathon,” Sands said Saturday. “It really supports our hospitality economy. There’s folks from all over the country, as I mentioned, that are staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and also experiencing what the city has to offer. I mean, the route goes all over the city. So, people get to see different districts.”
Located by Dickie’s Arena in Fort Worth, Taco Heads was a popular spot for people post-run Saturday. Quintin Kellogg, a general at the Montgomery Street location, said they opened two hours early on Saturday to provide premade tacos to athletes. They were well prepared and welcomed the rush of customers on Saturday, he said.
“Given the last two years, it’s been tough on mom and pop shops,” Kellogg said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we still serve food, high quality food at a good value and good price, but this [is] game changer.”
10K Unofficial Results
MEN: Course Record Set 2017 Time 30:50.0
First – Keith Kotar, Aledo, TX, 31, Time 34:18.1
Second – Ryan Siebert, The Colony, TX, 30, Time 34:48.1
Third – Dustin Wernicke, Grapevine, TX, 35, Time 35:00.1
WOMEN: Course Record Set 2011 Time 35:24.0
First – Amani Terrell, Fort Worth, TX, 42, 38:39.7
Second – Heather Rodriguez, Burleson, TX, 39, 42:55.9
Third – Sara Hernandez, Long Island City, NY, 30, 43:36.8
5K Unofficial Results
MEN: Course Record Set 2013 Time 15:00.0
First place – Caleb Calderon, Austin, TX, 23, Time 16:40.2
Second – Connor Downs, Pittsburgh, PA, 18, Time 17:19.3
Third – Gustavo Roskosky, Arlington, TX, 27, Time 17:34.7
WOMEN: Course Record Set 2016 17:25.0
First – Jessica Smith, Trophy Club, TX, 44, Time 19:04.7
Second – Sarah Simmons, Denton, TX, 33, Time 19:12.1
Third – Mayden Mitchell, Weatherford, TX, 12, Time 20:20.0