Halfway through the 2017 Valley Runner of the Year series, Dinuba’s María E. Rodríguez continues to expand her lead in the women’s open division; while early men’s frontrunner Jesús Campos sat out the Mother’s Day 10K run and dropped into second place.
Rodríguez, who has won five of the six series races she has entered, let her hair down at the May 13 run at Woodward Park to win in 42:43.44. That was good enough for sixth overall and almost three minutes faster than the next female runner, Madera’s Daisy Miguel (45:39.75).
The 37-year-old Orosi school district employee widened her lead against Amanda Whitten, who did not run the Mother’s Day race. Rodríguez has 135 points to Whitten’s 93. Fresno’s Adrienne Pitcher is third with 73 points.
Campos, who has won four races, moved into second place in the men’s open division with 90 points. Mother’s Day race winner Steven Waite of Fresno jumped into the lead with 114 points, thanks to the 30 points he earned.
Waite has 114 points, while J.K. Lundberg, who did not run last Saturday, is third with 71 points.
In the other divisions:
Male masters (40-49): Clovis’ Brian Thomas continues to dominate with 144 points, ahead of Kingsburg’s Jesús Villagrana (74) and Lemoore’s Víctor Meléndez. All three ran in the Mother’s Day run, with Thomas (43:00.39), Villagrana (46:18.32) and Meléndez (46:32.15) finishing in that order.
Male seniors (50 and over): Fresno’s Keith Jackson, 54, finished 10th overall in 44:34.05 to pad his point total to 106 points. Porterville’s Bobby Powell, 71, is second with 86 points, followed by Fresno’s Norm Takeuchi with 74 points.
Female masters (40-49): Beth Bridges of Clovis won her fourth race at the Mother’s Day event (48:58.13) to move into a tie with Marilyn Nessling, who did not run Saturday. Both have 90 points. Third is Reedley’s Hellen Bedolla with 81 points.
Female seniors (50 and over): Reedley’s Julia Johnson continues to dominate. The 53-year-old teacher won her division at the Mother’s Day race with a time of 46:42.12 to increase her point total to 151. She has won five series races. Oakhurst’s Eva Busto is second with 98 points, and third is Fresno’s Marice Z. Smith.
Valley Runner of the Year
Next races (with point totals) – June 10: Miracle Mile of Quarters at Valley Children’s Hospital (20); June 18: Father’s Day 6-mile Run at Woodward Park (20); July 29: Miguel Reyes Memorial 5K at Woodward Park (10); Sept. 23: Smokey Bear 10K at Bass Lake (30); Oct. 1: Susan G. Komen 5K at Chukchansi Park (10); Oct. 7: Visalia Runner Harvest 5K in downtown Visalia (10); Oct. 8: Armenian Relief Society 2-mile run at Woodward Park (10); and, Oct. 14: Reedley Fiesta 5-mile run in downtown Reedley (30).