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Posted: October 16, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Lagat, Fleshman Win Lexus Santa Monica 5000

Padilla sets 10K course record; Hesch men's 10K winner; more than 2,000 participants for Saint John's Health Center benefit

From Monica Busby

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - (October 11, 2009) - At the Lexus Santa Monica 5000 presented by Ed Hardy Sport on Sunday, in a thrilling finish overlooking the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Kenyan Haron Lagat successfully held off steeplechaser Aaron Aguayo by sixth tenths of a second, 14:07.2 to 14:07.8, to win the Saucony Elite West Invitational. Per road running rule, both times were converted to 14:08.

Lagat, 26, who won the race in 2006 and 2007, said, "Coming back from a stress fracture injury last year, I'm just glad that I am able to strengthen my kick since then and just kept pushing forward to win the race. I am excited to reclaim my title back."

The women's elite 5K field included 14-time All-American at Stanford and Eugene, Ore. resident Lauren Fleshman, 28, from Canyon Country, who scored the victory in 16 minutes, 12 seconds. Fleshman beat Everlyne Lagat, the younger sister of Bernard Lagat - two-time Olympic medalist and 2007 world champion in the 1500 / 5000. Lagat finished second in 16:21, while Briton Barbara Parker took third (16:23).

In the women's 10K, All-American Grace Padilla, 38-year-old elementary school teacher and mother of two, bested two-time 10K race champion, Christine Bolf, 35:29 to 35:44 and set a new course record (breaking Bolf's 35:53 from 2007).

"Christine and I train together and she encouraged me to run the 10K," Padilla recounted. "I owe it to her for training me to control my speed. I had a really good rhythm that day and I felt really good, so I just kept going my pace 'til the finish".

In the men's 10K, Christian Hesch of Morro Bay moved up to the top rung of the podium this year with a dominant run of 31:41. Luis Ibarra was second at 31:53 and Torrey Olson third (32:11).

Under cool (62 F / 17C) and cloudy conditions, more than 2,000 runners started the 5K or 10K course within the city of Santa Monica, a seaside retreat and one of the most desirable cities of California.

Celebrities also came out to support the festivities including former World Super MiddleWeight Boxing Champ and Celebrity Personal Trainer, Danny Musico, who led a warm-up group exercise, while Heroes' James Kyson Lee prepared to do the 5K run. Other celebrities involved with the race were Elise Neal ("Hustle n Flow"), Cast of TruTV's & Univision's Hit TV Show "Operation Repo", Damon Whitaker ("Farenheit 513"), Gina K. Bowes (Voiceover, Actress / Barbie), Maxine Bahns ("She's the One"), CC Perkinson (Model, Actress "Cost of Living"), and 2005 Miss Massachusetts Cristina Nardozzi. The post-race Party on the Pier featured the Wooza Kooza Crew of Cirque du Soleil.

Race proceeds will help provide vital support for essential services and community programs offered by Saint John's Health Center. This is especially important in the current economic climate that has brought unprecedented financial challenges to many hospitals throughout Southern California.

4th Lexus Santa Monica 5000 presented by Ed Hardy Sport
Santa Monica, CA, Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saucony Elite West Invitational
1) Haron Lagat (KEN), 14:08, $1300
2) Aaron Aguayo (AZ), 14:08, $700
3) Aucencio Martinez (CO), 14:10, $500

1) Lauren Fleshman (OR), 16:12, $1300
2) Everlyne Lagat (KEN), 16:21, $700
3) Barbara Parker (GBR), 16:23, $500

1) Christian Hesch (CA), 31:05, $500
2) Luis Ibarra (CA), 31:53, $300
3) Torrey Olson (CA), 32:11, $200

1) Grace Padilla (CA), 35:29*, $500
2) Christine Bolf (CA), 35:44, $300
3) Lauren Fleshman (OR), 36:02, $200
*course record (previous record, 35:53, Christine Bolf, 2007)

Full results and more at:

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