The top finishers in the women's division of the Bluegrass 10K pushed one another to a near-record-close finish.
Andrea Halasek Richardson finished in 39:05, a scant eight seconds before second-place finisher Betsy Laski at 39:13. This was the second-closest finish in the women's division; the closest was in 1983, when Mary Shuber defeated Mary Witt by five seconds, 38:45 to 38:50.
"I just tried to stick with Andrea, and she just took off a little at the end," Laski, from Lexington, said. "I'm just so happy. I went faster than I expected. I just tried to stick with her as best as I could."
Richardson, a first-time winner in the Bluegrass 10K, credited Laski for pushing her to finish strong.
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"Betsy really helped me a bunch," Richardson, also from Lexington, said. "She is an amazing runner."
Coming in 12 seconds behind Laski was Kari Sims of Louisville.
"I could see the girls (Richardson and Laski) the whole way," Sims said. "My strategy was to try to catch them in the last mile, but I got a cramp and couldn't do it."
This was Sims' first time competing in the 6.2-mile event in downtown Lexington.
"I've heard about the race for years and heard it was well organized," Sims said. "I thought it was great and lived up to its reputation."
Laski finished third in the Bluegrass 10K in 2011, but her training techniques this year were much different.
"I just had a baby 11 weeks ago, so I wasn't really sure how I would do," Laski said. "I took three weeks off completely and then came back slowly. I've just basically been trying to run 45 minutes most days, so I haven't done any speed work or anything like that, but it worked out."
Richardson has competed in the event "eight or nine" times and claimed a runner-up finish in 2011 with a time of 38:17. The Scott County native said has been involved in the race her entire life, through her high school and college years.
"It was the hottest it has been in awhile for one of these races," Richardson said. "The spectators were great, yelling and cheering us on and cooling us down with the sprinklers and water hoses."