LIMA – Former Ottawa-Glandorf track standout Matt Deters took a glance around, and quickly realized he had an opportunity to win his first-ever Star Spangled Spectacular Freedom 5K.
The 32-year-old Deters got out quickly at Tuesday’s Freedom 5K and never relinquished his lead, en route to a winning time of 16 minutes, 5.3 seconds on the 3.1-mile course, that started and finished at Faurot Park. The event was sponsored by the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio.
Former Shawnee track standout, Dustin Sprague, 42, finished second (16:16.4), while Brock Lloyd, 26, from Pickerington, finished third (16:23.4). Last year’s winner, former Shawnee distance standout Tom Scott, 28, finished fourth (16:42).
On the women’s side, Lima’s Sara Anderson, 29, took first in 19:51.7. McKayla Sullivan, a 19-year-old from Lima, finished second (19:59.2), while Emily Avers, a 27-year-old from Bowling Green, came in third (20:29.9).
Last year, Deters finished second in the Freedom 5K in 15:37.2. Scott won last year’s race in 15:22.9. In fact, Scott had won the annual race the previous three years.
“It was a little slower than usual, but I got the job done today,” Deters said in reference to Tuesday’s race pace. “I was by myself within the first half mile. Tom Scott said he wasn’t in that great of shape and hadn’t been running a lot. I got out there and I was up ahead and no one was around me the rest of the way. I probably slowed down, though.
“It got a little hilly in the third mile. I was pushing as hard as I could. I looked at my watch and I thought, ‘oh man’. But, when you win, you win. I have to be happy with that. I’ve ran this race for multiple years, off and on. And this was the first time I even came close to winning. I won the race. I can’t complain.”
Deters, who now resides in Arlington, Virginia, works for George Washington University as a Senior Financial Aid Advisor.
When it comes to road racing, Deters has even bigger plans for the future.
“I’m going to run the Chicago Marathon in October,” he said. “So, I have a 14-week window. I’ll rest a little bit, then get some good mileage and see if I can peak in the marathon before age starts to creep in.”
Not too far behind Deters in Tuesday’s race was Sprague. For Sprague, running distance has not always been his forte. Sprague, who works for the City of Kettering Public Works, finished third at last year’s Freedom 5K (15:46.3).
“This was my fourth year coming back,” Sprague said. “I started running competitively about five years ago. I decided to come back here and start running this race.
“When I ran track in high school, I was a sprinter and hurdler. After I graduated I kind of transitioned into recreational distance running, but I got competitive like five years ago. Ever since then, I just kept getting better.”
In the women’s race, Anderson wasn’t sure what to expect.
With being married, running a business and having a young child, finding time to train has been a lofty challenge. Anderson owns and operates Sara’s Sweets, while her husband Ben, runs a State Farm Agency.
“I haven’t raced a 5K in two years,” Anderson said. “Today, I had the attitude of coming in and doing what I can. Then throughout the race, when I saw people ahead of me, I just tried to work to the next one, work to the next one. I really didn’t have a time goal in mind. I didn’t know what I was capable of.”
Like the other top runners on Tuesday, Anderson doesn’t run just the 5K.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of miles. I’m getting ready for some marathon training,” Anderson said. “I enjoy racing the 10K and the half (marathon). The marathon is still really elusive to me. I’ve never really had a good experience. So, I keep going back to that.”