Auburn man scoots to Christmas Rush Fun Run title

James Roach had passed this way before. Only this time, he ran freely and in front of the crowd Saturday.

Auburn's James Roach reaches the finish line to take the 10-kilometer overall win at the 33rd Christmas Rush Fun Run/Walk in Kent on Saturday morning.

James Roach had passed this way before.

Only this time, he ran freely and in front of the crowd Saturday.

The 30-year-old Auburn man captured his first 10-kilometer overall win at the 33rd Christmas Rush Fun Run/Walk on a wet morning at Hogan Park at Russell Road.

Roach covered the relatively flat, 6.2-mile loop course in 34 minutes, 35 seconds. He settled for second in the same race a year ago, running a time of 33:46.1 and following the winner, Seattle’s Uli Steidl, who posted a 31:53.

This time, Roach prevailed, running strong despite the steady rain. The 10K attracted a field of 238 runners.

“The conditions were fine,” said Roach, a health and physical education instructor at Madrona Elementary School in SeaTac. “I felt fine today, being that is was my first race coming off a marathon (at Portland in October).”

Roach is a former All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference academic cross country performer at Central Washington University. Roach also competed at Highline College and coached in the area.

He also excels in the marathon, having posted a personal-best 2:42.

In July, Roach finished third overall (16:45.6) at the Kent Cornucopia Days 5K.

In Saturday’s 10K, Anthony Raftis, a senior standout runner at Kent-Meridian High School, was second (34:38) and Tacoma’s Cameron Freshwaters, 20, was third (34:49).

Seattle’s Rachel Leftwich, 23, took the women’s overall win in 39:52, which was 17th overall. Kent’s Katherine Thompson, 24, was second (42:54) and Renton’s Kari Vreugdenhil settled for third (43:57).

In the 5K, Seattle’s Michael Chinchar (15:27), 27, edged Kent’s Isaac Derline (15:29) for the overall victory. Tacoma’s Nicole O’loughlin, 25, topped the women’s field (18:20).

The 5K field was more than 1,300 strong.

Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services hosted the run, a Kent tradition.

For more information and full race results, see


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