Slattery wins Bolder Boulder on home course |

Slattery wins Bolder Boulder on home course

The first wave of runners breaks from the starting line for the citizens' race of the 28th annual Bolder Boulder 10-kilometer road race on Monday, May 29, 2006, in Boulder, Colo. More than 46,000 runners took part in the race in 2005, which made the Bolder Boulder one of the largest 10-kilometer races staged in North America. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BOULDER – The crowd at Folsom Stadium kept getting louder and Sara Slattery, a two-time NCAA champion at Colorado, knew it wasn’t just because she was closing in on the finish line.Poland’s Dorota Gruca was closing fast.”I just used that energy to keep me going,” said Slattery, who held off Gruca to win the 28th Bolder Boulder 10km run Monday by one second.Her time was 33 minutes, 42 seconds for the closest finish in six years.The American team of Slattery, 2005 champion Elva Dryer and Jen Rhines won the team competition.In the men’s race, Ethiopian Berhanu Adane edged Mexico’s Alejandro Suarez by two seconds for his second win in North America’s third-longest road race. He also won in 1999. Mexico took the men’s team title.

Adane’s winning time of 29:37 was the fourth-slowest in the history of the Memorial Day race.Slattery, who won the $3,000 top prize, broke from the pack with a mile left and entered the stadium with a seemingly comfortable lead, but a hard-charging Gruca almost erased it.”I think putting a fast surge in there did hurt me at the end, but I think if I wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have won that race,” Slattery said. “It’s risky, but I knew I needed to risk if I was going to win.”Gruca’s strategy was to make up the distance with her kick.”I waited all the way. All the way to make my move. And I almost caught her,” Gruca said. “I made my move with my kick.”Slattery said her kick this season has been spectacular. Still, “I didn’t want to leave it to a kick, and so I was hurting up that last hill.”

Kenyan teammates Lineth Chepkurui and Jemima Jepligat, who took third and fourth, respectively, said Slattery’s early break broke their spirits.”We ran out of energy,” Jepligat said. “The pace was fast, faster than what we wanted, and then she took off.”Slattery, 24, was the fifth American in six years to win the women’s race.”When I came into the stadium, I was just thinking, ‘Relax your legs.’ But I felt like I weighed about 400 pounds today coming around that curve. My knees felt real heavy and that’s the effect of altitude,” she said. “My quads felt like they had two pianos on them when I was running up. I guess they say a piano on your back but my quads felt it today.”Slattery, who doesn’t like to look back while racing, said it wouldn’t have made any difference.”That whole last mile, I pretended someone was right on my shoulder and I was just trying to run as fast as I could,” she said.

This was the first Bolder Boulder race for Slattery, the 2005 NCAA 10,000-meter champion and ’03 winner in the 5,000 meters. She used to watch the race from her campus apartment, dreaming of one day running with the elites.When she finally got her chance, she outraced them all.”To be able to win the individual race and the team race is awesome, and in my hometown, I can’t rank this with any other race, it’s out of the park the best,” Slattery said.”It was so awesome having everyone cheering my name. Doing it in the front yard of my old house was pretty fun. It was awesome. Now I know what those basketball players feel like when they’re on the home court.”She collapsed after crossing the finish line and stayed down for two minutes catching her breath and soaking in the applause.”I was just tired. I didn’t black out or anything. I just didn’t have anything left,” she said. “I guess that’s the way you want it to be at the end of the race, knowing that you couldn’t have done anything else, any more to get there.”

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