Track coach captures consecutive legs of trails series

July 13, 2010

By Elizabeth DeVos

The third race in the Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series took place on an unusual sunny summer morning with about 155 runners hitting the trails of Cougar Mountain Regional Park on July 10.

Unlike in years past, the course was set up a little differently, according to event director Scott McCoubray. This year’s course packed in more climbing per mile than in other years. Runners ran the Coyote Creek trail instead of running the gravel road, he said.

McCoubray gave runners a brief safety talk before they began. He warned runners that there would be others on the trails walking. The race is supposed to be competitive yet fun.

“Be friendly with each other, unless it gets serious,” he said. “Then you can nudge each other off the trail.”

Liberty High School track coach Michael Smith won not only the last race, which was seven and a half miles, but also the 10-mile with a time of 1:21:09. One of the students he used to coach, Brandon Thomas, ran the race with him.

Thomas, an 18-year-old Liberty High School graduate, came in third place with a time of 1:25:34.

“I didn’t do any training for this run,” he said. “I just went off of the track season. I’ve been running about 40 miles a week, though.”

He also ran the seven and a half mile race this year, and two years ago he ran the 10 mile.Thomas said he fell three times during the race. Although he did get a little muddy, he said the trail was not as muddy as the seven-and-a-half-mile race two weeks ago.

Thomas started running competitively in seventh grade. In high school, he ran cross country for four years and was on the track team for three years.

Thomas will attend the University of Washington in the fall, although he’s always been a Washington State University fan, he said. He does not plan on running as a member of the school’s competitive team, but hopes to find a club team to run with, he said.

He plans to continue running his entire life competitively and for leisure, he added.

While many locals wanted to escape the heat this past week, Chris Kimbrough was enjoying a break from the humid Austin, Texas, weather.

Kimbrough was the first woman to finish the 10-mile run and placed ninth overall with a time of 1:28:12.

Her five kids and husband, Jack, were at the finish line, ready to congratulate her.

“You don’t even get a summer morning like this in Austin. It’s always humid,” she said. “I was thinking about that going up the big hills. It’s so much easier here.”

This was not Kimbrough’s first time running the race; in 2006, she set the course record for females in the 10-mile run, with a time of 1:26:32. She was unable to beat that this time, though.

Kimbrough and her family were on their annual visit to her in-laws in Bellevue and it worked out that she could run in the race. The family is also traveling to Missoula, Mont., where she is thinking about running the Madison half-marathon in two to three weeks.

About six years ago, she stopped running triathlons and began to focus on running competitively, she said.

She is now a master’s runner and runs between 10 and 15 races a year, she said.

Just 10 days after giving birth earlier this year, she began training again.

“The course was very well-marked and a lot of fun,” she said.

The next run, 13 miles, is Aug. 14. Anyone is welcome to participate. Learn more about the run here.

Elizabeth DeVos: 392-6434 or isspress@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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