On a cloudless Nov. 24 morning in 2007, Riverbank High School senior Germán Fernández set fire at the CIF state cross country championships.
Running in Division IV, Fernández cruised the 5-kilometer course at Woodward Park in 14 minutes, 24 seconds. That is a per-mile pace of 4:38!
Since then, no one has come close to running faster on that course.
Fresno High cross country coach Jesús Campos would like to see that mark tumble on Sunday (Aug. 4) at the third annual Miguel Reyes Elite/Fun 5k race.
There is a $500 prize for the first runner to break Fernández’s time. That’s on top of the $1,000 that will go to the first-place finisher.
Could it be Clovis Community College cross country coach CJ Albertson who breaks the mark?
The Arizona State standout owns a 5k best of 13:56.89, which he achieved at the 2016 Mt. SAC Relays. Albertson, who finished second in last year’s Miguel Reyes race, has been on a record-breaking pace ever since he broke the Two Cities Marathon record last November and then went on to break the records for marathons in Bakersfield and Modesto.
Albertson also broke the world indoor marathon record earlier this year with a time of 2:17:59.
Other top contenders include
▪ Nico Montañez, who owns a 5k-best of 14:09.08 and was ninth in the NCAA Division 1 cross country meet. This year, he won the Sac Town 10-mile Run in 48:36.
▪ Diego León, who finished fourth in last year’s race and has a 5k-best of 13:39, which he clocked at the 2018 Mt. SAC Relays. He attended Montana State, and has run sub-4-minute miles.
▪ Anthony Solís, who competed at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, has a PR of 14:08 in the 5k. He was a three-time state cross country champion in Division III. He trains in Barstow where he grew up.
▪ Jesús Arturo Esparza Pérez, who has a 10k best of 29:17. He ran a 1:04:49 half-marathon last month in Tijuana.
▪ Swarnjit Boyal, a Big West Conference champion while at Cal Poly SLO, has a best of 14:01 in the 5k. He won the San Luis Obispo Half Marathon in 1:08:34 in April.
▪ Craig Curley comes with a best of 14:10 in the distance. The Navajo runner has a best of 20:03 in the 10k.
▪ Gordon Sturgess, the 2012 Western State Conference runner of the year, has a best of 14:18 in the 5k.
▪ Michael Dávila has run a road mile in 3:55 and has a 5k best of 14:22.
▪ Matt Klein has a 10K best of 31:36, and comes in with a 14:45 mark in the 5k.
▪ Jorge Pérez, who starred at Reedley High School, has run 31:21 in the 10k.
▪ Edgar Bonilla has a best of 31:50 in the 10k.
Fast women in field also
It could be another Albertson who takes home the cash for breaking the course record. In this case, Chelsey Albertson, CJ’s wife and a nursing student, returns to the race she won in 2017. She ran last year’s race in 17:31.2,
At Arizona State, she was ranked 17th nationall in the 5k. She is currently a cross country coach at Clovis Community College.
Albertson would have to break the course record of 16:31 set by Claudia Lane. The meet record is 16:59. Her best at that distance is 15:53 (2017 Stanford Invitational).
Another top contender is México City’s Mitzari Lozano, who has been running a lot of half marathons (1:14:16 best). Lozano has a 5k best of 16:27.
Faviola Pérez, another runner from México City, has a 5k best of 16:30. She has run 1:16 in the half marathon.
Sabrina López has a best of 16:30 in the 5k, and has a 1:14:33 best in the half marathon.
The women’s field includes Yesenia Silva, who starred at the College of the Sequoias and later transferred to BYU where she clocked 16:25 in the 5k.
Also running is Molly Friel, the Fresno runner who has qualified for the 2020 Women’s Olympic Qualifying Trails at age 50.
There will be $8,500 in prize awards, with $1,000 each to the top male and female finisher, $750 for second, $500 for third, $250 for fourth and $100 for fifth.
Additionally, there will be prizes ($75 for first, $50 for second, $25 for third) for the top three men’s and women’s winners in eight age groups.
The top three master’s finishers (age 40 plus) for men and women will get $200 for first, $150 for second, and, $100 for third.
There is a $100 bonus for the first to break the race records of 14:39 (Kasey Knevelbaard, 2018) and 16:59 (Ayla Granados, 2018).
Those in college, high school or middle school are not eligible for cash awards.
Race bibs can be picked up between 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 3) at Fleet Feet, 9447 N. Fort Washington Road, #106. Walk-in registration will also be accepted at that time.
The schedule for Sunday (Aug. 4):
5:45 a.m. to 6:45 a.m.: Race day registration, bib pick up
6:20 a.m.-6:45 a.m.: Zumba
6:50 a.m.: Introduction of elite runners
6:55 a.m.: National anthem by Valerie Salcedo
7 a.m.: Start of 5k race
7:40 a.m.-8 a.m.: Zumba
8 a.m.: Kids’ races every 5 minutes through 8:20 a.m.
8:20 a.m.: Folklórico dancing
8:35 a.m.: Awards presentation
9:30 a.m.: Raffles, dance/games competition.