Tacoma’s Ben Mangrum sprints to the finish line to win Kent’s 35th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run at Hogan Park at Russell Road on Saturday. Mangrum completed the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) course in 34 minutes, 13 seconds. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Tacoma’s Ben Mangrum sprints to the finish line to win Kent’s 35th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run at Hogan Park at Russell Road on Saturday. Mangrum completed the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) course in 34 minutes, 13 seconds. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Mangrum scoots to 10K win at Kent’s 35th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run

Big field of runners competes despite the cold and fog

Whether it’s a full marathon, 50-kilometer trail test or a more conventional short run, Tacoma’s Ben Mangrum likes the challenges of different road racing choices.

Even a “cool option … a $10 race,” his description of Kent’s 35th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run that was unleashed on a frozen Saturday morning by Hogan Park at Russell Road.

Mangrum, a former University of Puget Sound runner who teaches science and coaches cross country at Parkland’s Curtis High School, held off Johnny Kvietkus to capture the overall 10K (6.2-mile) title. Mangrum stopped the clock in 34 minutes, 13 seconds. Kvietkus hit the finish line six seconds later.

“Ten-K and 5K road races … that’s the best part, the essence of the experience of being a distance runner here,” Mangrum said.

Pushed to the finish, the 39-year-old Mangrum enjoyed the workout and the close, front-running pack he was associated with for about half of the race.

“First time (here),” said Mangrum, whose son Adam, a 5K race participant Saturday, and friends persuaded him to give Kent’s flat, big loop course a try. “At my age, I’m getting to that point where if I’m healthy enough to run a race, I’ll take advantage of that because you just don’t know if you will be feeling great in a few months. … You have to enjoy your opportunities when they’re there.”

Mangrum, who competes for the Tacoma City Running Club, makes every moment count. Just last May, he became the first local man to win the Tacoma City Marathon since 2012. Just last weekend he helped pace a friend through half of a marathon.

Undaunted by the damp cold and stubborn fog, Mangrum crashed the Kent party and enjoyed the results.

“Getting out here and warming up, it’s really cold, right?” he said with a smile. “Running the race is fine.”

Chandler Nill (35:03) was third and two-time defending race champion James Roach finished fourth (35:29).

Kristi Houk, who was second a year ago, took the women’s 10K overall win (39:13), followed by Rachel Leftwich (40:24) and Daryl Marie Phill (40:26).

Eric Brill (16:00) and Katherine Timlin (19:14) won the men’s and women’s 5K races, respectively,

The 5K race had 960 runners, the 10K field posted 300 finishers.

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

For full race results, see buduracing.com.

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