Highland woman wins the half marathon.

Neelam Kahlom-Pfister of Highland led the women in the half marathon, finishing nearly a minute faster than the second place runner, Emily Marsh of Beuamont.

There were some real interesting discoveries in a few of the outcomes at Sunday’s 37th A Run Through Redlands, a trio of men’s and women’s races that just beat late-day rains in a finish at the Redlands Bowl.

For openers, there were very few close finishes in all three events.

Repeat men’s half-marathon winner Gage Hale, for instance, topped all 350 runners in a 13.1-mile joust by knocking off teenager Cole Cooper ⎯ a member of last fall’s state-placed Redlands East Valley High School cross country team ⎯ by over six minutes.

Redlands’ David Salas won the men’s 5K by over a minute, his 16:09 a course record.

Micaela Pulliam, hired by the University of Redlands last year as an assistant distance running coach, scored in the women’s 5K by 1:09.

If there was a close finish, it might have been Highland’s Neelam Kahlom-Pfister’s 1:35.17 clocking to win the women’s half-marathon, winning by less than a full minute.

Then there was the women’s 10K race, one in which Redlands’ Lisa Chase prevailed in 46 minutes. She ran second last year to a dominant runner, Joanna Reyes, winning last weekend by two minutes and 25 seconds.

Speaking of the women’s 10K.

One day earlier in Atlanta, Ga., the 2018 and 2019 women’s 10K champion, Reyes, ran 102nd at the U.S. Olympic Trials. It was the first event kicking off qualifying in all individual Olympic sports with Reyes failing to qualify.

Without Reyes in the field after her third straight Redlands 10K title, Chase’s total advantage was well over two minutes.

If there was a star in the field, it might have been men’s 10K champion Jimmy Grabow, a one-time national contender who missed qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team by a mere three seconds.

He scorched Redlands’ second-year course with a record 31-minute, 9-second finish, winning by nearly five minutes. It was the third record that fell on Sunday, though the current course is just two-years-old.

Cooper’s presence in the men’s half-marathon, meanwhile, might have seemed surprising.

Most high school coaches try to avoid sending their runners into such a difficult event.

Said Redlands High girls’ coach April Berry, whose Lady Terriers’ squad won back-to-back CIF team titles in 2014 and 2015: “Sunday is our rest day and hard race [on Sunday] would not fit with the training schedule.”

They might have jogged with family members, she said, in perhaps a fun run environment.

There are plenty of current runners from the high school ranks, various running clubs and a few area colleges that might be tempted to make the run.

Said REV coach Matthew Sartori: “I think only Cole ran it this year. Most of my runners don’t usually run it as it’s during the track season.”

Sartori noted his REV runner Alex Miller, part of last fall’s state finalist team, won the men’s 5K in 2019.

Berry and Sartori, meanwhile, are gearing up for a March 10 track and field dual meet at RHS. Keeping them out of A Run Through Redlands would, at least, save the legs.

The race is considered brutal, especially due to the excessive hilly terrain, especially in the half-marathon.

“Lots of hills,” said Becky Savage, of San Bernardino, a 31-year-old who races for pleasure. “I loved the cool weather. I didn’t care about my finish. I just wanted to run through the neighborhoods.”

Paul Demeduk, 33, of Riverside, reflected one of the reasons to race at Redlands ⎯ friends and family.

“I think there were 13 of us that came over,” he said, “for this race. We’ve done it almost every year for the past 13 or 14 years.”

Nancy Jurich, a 50-year-old runner from Jurupa Valley, said, “For me, it’s a great atmosphere ⎯ a lot of runners, beautiful scenery and a chance to run into people you see at other races.”

All three had plenty of company. The total racing roster included nearly 2,200 runners.

Men’s 5K ⎯ Salas beat Riverside’s Alec Fillmore (17:18) and Yucaipa’s Jose Lara (18:17). The race was a quickie up and down Olive and Fern streets, running past the YMCA before turning onto Myrtle.

Women’s 5K ⎯ Pulliam, who was a National Collegiate Christian Athletic Association All-American while racing at Biola University-La Mirada, should know how to run a road race. Her 18:48 clocking bested teens Isabella Bravo (19:57) of Colton and Katie Hornung (20:15) of Yucaipa, who duplicated last year’s third place finish.

Men’s 10K ⎯ Grabow (31:09) scored over Banning’s Jacob Potter (35:59), last year’s men’s 10K champion, with Redlands’ Derek Barnett (36:57). Grabow, a Long Beach State competitor, was a 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon hopeful who finished 10th that year in the qualifying.

Footnote: Fourth place in the men’s 10K field belonged to Steve Marshburn, known around these parts as a strong tennis player and a top coach at collegiate tennis power University of Redlands.

There were 233 runners in the men’s 10K field.

Women’s 10K ⎯ Chase, racing among the men, took 10th overall (577 total runners in the 10K) in a 46-minute trek. In between the Redlands Post Office start at the Redlands Bowl finish, runners trotted up and down Olive, Fern, McKinley Elementary School and fashionable Olive Market before its final run to the Redlands Bowl.

If there was a close finish, it might have been the battle for second place in the women’s 10K. Trisha Dominguez, of Rubidoux, beat Running Springs’ Shannon Dyberg by three seconds in 48:25.

Men’s half-marathon ⎯ Hale, who was listed as a Needles, Calif. resident scored this year’s win in 1:17.05, a full half-minute ahead of last year’s winning clocking. It’s a course record.

Cooper’s 1:23.27 clocking was well ahead of Redlands’ Todd Rau’s third place run (1:27.28). To gain the necessary mileage of 13.1 miles, the course stretches out to Smiley Heights, most of Sunset Road, past Redlands Hospital before the Redlands Bowl finishes.

Women’s half-marathon ⎯ Yucaipa’s Kelsey Gormley keeps showing up in the results. In last year’s women’s 10K, she ran second to the phenomenal Reyes while beating Chase, this year’s women’s 10K champion, by nearly nine minutes.

Kahlam-Pfister’s clocking was 46 ticks off the course record, 1:08 ahead of Beaumont's Emily March, who ran second place. Gormley ran third in this year's half-marathon.

Reyes, who has been nursing her health in weeks prior to the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, ran 2:43.51 for her 102nd place. She never really showed up on NBC cameras during the network telecast.

Aliphine Tuliamuk won in 2:27.23, eight seconds ahead of Molly Seidel in Atlanta. Nearly 400 met the qualifying mark to try for the Olympics.

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