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Runners have a blast at Stocking Shuffle 5K
It wasn’t quite a winter morning in Buffalo, N.Y., but Nathan McCrary sure makes it feel that way when he crosses the line.
On Saturday at the Stocking Shuffle 5K, McCrary, 37, placed second for the third time in the race’s six-year existence.
On a cold, but sunny morning at Colorado College, McCrary finished 47 seconds behind Paul Mann, who broke the tape in 17:45.
“You know, it’s a little frustrating,” said McCrary, who also finished second to Mann in the 2008 installment of the race. “I won the first one of these races (in 2007), but ever since then I can’t get over that hump.”
Startled by the abrupt gun to kick off the race, Mann and McCrary didn’t stay with each other long.
“I tried to stay with him for a while,” McCrary said, “but then he pulled away and I never caught up. And the gap just kept getting bigger.”
Despite featuring more hills than in past years, the course times were comparable to years past, as the winning time always has floated around the the mid-17s.
By Mile 1 on Saturday, Mann, 35, already had opened a 20-second gap on the rest of the pack.
And from there, it was all just a cool breeze.
“Running is addicting, I love it,” the Cheyenne Mountain and UCCS alum said. “The cold seared your lungs a bit, but it wasn’t a bad day – this being December - at all.”
In the women’s race, Jaclyn Roberson smashed last year’s winning time by more than a minute, finishing in 22:59.
Decked out in their elf ears and reindeer antlers, the 150 runners showed up to enjoy and support The Gazette/El Pomar Empty Stocking Fund, which benefits 15 local health and human service agencies that help people in financial need.
Nearly $3,000 was raised at the race, meaning El Pomar, which gives $1 to every $3 donated, will donate another $1,000 to the fund.
The fund has raised nearly $6 million in the past five years.
So while McCrary has been grinning in mild frustration for the past five years at the Stocking Shuffle, he promises to keep coming back for years to come.
“I love it. It goes to a really great cause and I get to set a good example for my four kids,” McCrary smiled. “I’ll figure out how to win again, it’s a little frustrating. But hey, it’s awesome.”