There seemed to be countless reasons why runners and walkers turned out for the 13th annual Carson Nugget Nevada Day Classic on Saturday.
There were 331 participants overall and probably just as many reasons to be at the 2-mile walk/run and 8-kilometer (4.97 miles) run on a cool and overcast morning. Among other things, the event served as a fund-raiser for Northern Nevada Special Olympics.
"This is the largest race we've had in I don't know how many years. We grew by over 100 from last year, so it was absolutely a fantastic event, thanks to the sponsors and runners who showed up," race director Tim Tetz said. "A lot of people had a good time and contributed to a worthwhile charity."
The Nevada Day Classic is billed as a family event, and it showed. Just look at 9-year-old Sara Mangiarcina, who ran the 8-K race in a time of 41 minutes, 52 seconds while holding a small American flag.
Unlike past years, there was no Halloween costume contest, but that didn't prevent some participants from dressing up. Glenn Rowley, 12, wore black and orange tights and ran 43:34 for the 8-K. One woman wore black and orange with a spider hat.
And, of course, there were the serious competitive runners.
Agustin Arroy, a familiar sight in Carson City's running community, won his first Nevada Day Classic title as he surged to the front early in the 8-K race and stayed there as he hit the finish line in front of the Carson Nugget and the Paul Laxalt State Building with a 27:53 clocking.
"The race was good. He (Ross McMahan) ran with me the whole way," said the 34-year-old Arroy. "I've been sick lately and it was a bit cold this morning, but I felt good."
McMahan, of Incline Village, challenged Arroy throughout the race and finished second in 28:02. Fred Zalokar of Reno was third overall and first in the masters age category (40-and-over) with a 28:31 clocking. Dennis Brinson, 44, was fourth overall in 28:38.
Nicole Truax, 29, of Reno, was the first woman in 33:33. Jackie Taylor, 45, of Stateline, was the second overall woman finisher and first in the masters category in 34:49.
The overall 2-mile winner was 14-year-old Robert Elvick of Reno, who ran 11:45 to edge Doug Cichowicz of South Lake Tahoe in 11:46. Carson Middle School 8th grader Adam Houghton was a close third in 11:50, while Jamie Haines of Anchorage, Alaska, was third (12:02) and Neal Chappell of Stateline fourth (12:14, first in the men's 60-69 age category).
Ellen Lucas was the women's 2-mile run winner in a time of 12:16, five seconds faster than the women's course record set in 2000 by Annie Brinson. Saturday was another stop on a fall schedule for the High Sierra Home School cross country program she coaches.
"This was a good race for us to come to, something close," Lucas said of the program for home schooled students who aren't eligible to compete in regular interscholastic athletics. "Our middle school kids got to go to the middle school meets, but they weren't able to run officially at the (Tah-Neva League) championship meet. The high school kids went to four meets and they ran some other races like today, and we'll probably take five kids down to the Foot Locker Western Regionals (in December at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.)."
Brinson, a 14-year-old Carson Middle School 8th grader, ran 12:49 to finish as the second woman and eighth overall.
Running notes ... The event was co-hosted by the Sagebrush Stompers and Tahoe Mountain Milers running clubs and sponsored by the Carson Nugget, IGT Technology, Sierra West Concrete, Lumos & Associates, Ascent Sports Therapy, Sierra Physical Therapy, Asics and the Nevada Appeal ... Arroy and Rodrigo Melgarejo trained together through the summer and now they're trying to expand the nucleus of their group. "We're trying to organize a running group, a team that can train and race together. We've been together since July and now there are five of us, so little by little it's starting to get bigger," said Melgarejo (runners interested in training with the group may call him at 841-1282 or Arroy at 720-7457) ... Ron Nageotte of Stateline didn't settle for one day of running when he entered the Lake Tahoe Marathon two weeks ago. Instead, he ran 78.6 miles during the three-stage ultra marathon race around the lake. And to show endurance, he ran faster each day -- 5:26 for the first stage from Emerald Bay to Spooner Summit, 5:23 for the second stage from Spooner Summit to Tahoe City, and 4:44 for the third stage from Tahoe City to Pope Beach. Saturday gave Nageotte a chance for a change of pace. "This was my speed work," said Nageotte, who ran Saturday's 8-K in 36:25. "I don't do speed work and I felt it today. This hurt worse that the three marathons." Nageotte and Carol Rapascz (who ran the two-mile Saturday) will run Apple Hill next week, then the Clarksburg 30-K to get ready for the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December. "CIM, that's our anniversary run," Nageotte said, adding with a laugh. "After that, we're going to Disneyland."