April 7, 2019
Edward Cheserek, who was born in Kenya, ran at the University of Oregon and now trains in Flagstaff, Ariz., covered the 5,000-meter seaside course in 13 minutes, 29 seconds, tying the IAAF world record on the road. Cheserek did not lack lack for effort nor support in an effort to etch his name into the record book. By 6 minutes, 44 seconds into the race, when rabbit Craig Nowak slipped off the course, Cheserek’s lead was already 80 meters.
“I was racing against the clock,” said the Kenyan, who knew the world record was 13:29.
On the 90-degree left-hand turn from Carlsbad Boulevard to the downhill stretch on Carlsbad Village Drive, Cheserek did not want to slow and took the left so hard that his force of energy nearly caused him to stumble.
“I was going for it,” said the man who won 17 national championships at Oregon. “I was going to have a good time here today.”
Cheserek’s ears were filled with thunderous applause as sprinted to the finish.
“I heard them, yes,” he said.
Among those screaming was Cheserek’s girlfriend, Sharon Lokedi, a University of Kansas senior who won the outdoor 10,000 meters last spring. Just minutes earlier, in the first road race of her career, Lokedi pulled away shortly after Mile 1 and won the pro women’s race in 15:48.
Upon hitting the tape, Lokedi soaked up her applause, then darted the the elite athletes’ VIP tent, changed shoes and hustled back to cheer on her beau.
“I tried to be as loud as I could,” said Lokedi. “I don’t know if he heard me.”
Cheserek was hardly crestfallen that his record attempt fell one second short.
“I will go home and train harder for next year,” he said.
Cheserek averaged 4:21 per mile and won by 25 seconds. Countryman David Bett placed second in 13:54. Reid Buchanan took third in 13:56.
Lokedi’s victory was not nearly as one-sided as her boyfriend’s but she was not tested after taking the lead shortly after Mile 1, following the first Carlsbad Boulevard U-turn. The race’s second mile takes a slight uphill gradient and the pace usually slows slightly.
Not for Lokedi. In a rarity, her second mile split (5:05) was swifter than her first (5:07). The rest of the field was game, but could not match her pace. Regarding pushing the pace even harder the second mile, Lokedi said, “I just felt I had everything. I wanted to hold onto that and keep moving.”
She won by 12 seconds, averaging 5:06 per mile. Charlotte Arter of Wales finished second in 16:00 with Danielle Shanahan of Flagstaff taking third in 16:03.
Cheserek and Lokedi each earned $5,000.
Known by local runners simply as “The ’Bad,” the Carlsbad 5000 was purchased this year by San Diego-based Groundwork Endurance. One of the lead investors: Meb Keflezighi, the San Diego High graduate and the only man to win the Boston Marathon, New York Marathon and an Olympic marathon medal.
Be it Meb’s presence or the influx of locals putting on the 34th annual race, there was an uptick in participation. Last year the race drew 3,863 participants. This year, 5,500 athletes registered for the event dubbed “The Party by the Sea.”
With 16 world records and eight national marks set at the Carlsbad 5000, the race understandably carries another nickname: “World’s Fastest 5K.”
Understanding the value of professional runners, the new owners pumped in more prize money. Last year the event paid out $10,500. On Sunday, checks were written totaling $24,000.
The day dawned with masters showing off their speed. James Thie of the United Kingdom sped to a masters win in 15:17.9. The victory was special to Thie. He grew up a fan of Steve Scott, who ran more sub 4-minute miles than anyone. Scott also helped design the first Carlsbad 5000 course and won the first three events.
“I raced miles all over the world,” said Thie. “It was based on the John Walker, Steve Scott (philosophy): Have spikes will travel, will race.”
A local, Meriah Earle of Escondido, won the women’s masters in 16:56.7. Earle called it the race of her life.
“I’ve been chasing that sub-17 for a couple years now. At first, I never thought it was possible,” she said, then she popped a 17:05 at Carlsbad last year. “That put the thought in my head I could do it, I think the name of the game for me was controlling my nerves. I get super nervous for 5Ks.”
The 35th running of the Carlsbad 5000 will take place the weekend of March 21-22, 2020. Runners can take advantage of a presale registration special, through next Sunday at Carlsbad5000.com.
Elite Results – 34th Carlsbad 5000
Rank, Name, Hometown, Time, Prize
1. Edward Cheserek, Kenya, 13:29, $5,000
2. David Bett, Kenya, 13:54, $2,500
3. Reid Buchanan, Mammoth Lakes, 13:56, $1,500
4. Altobelli Da Silva, Brazil, 14:01, $750
5. Hassan Mead, Flagstaff, AZ, 14:03, $500
1. Sharon Lokedi, Kenya, 15:48, $5,000
2. Charlotte Arter, United Kingdom, 16:00, $2,500
3. Danielle Shanahan, Flagstaff, Az, 16:03, $1,500
4. Alice Wright, United Kingdom, 16:05, $750
5. Emily Durgin, Flagstaff, Az, 16:06, $500