Emily Frith went into Thursday's Bluegrass 10,000 with a simple strategy.
"I just wanted to go out conservative and then just pick it up and see how I felt," she said. "It went pretty well."
Indeed it did as the 19-year-old from Stanford ran through a drizzle to win the women's division of the annual 6.2-mile event in 37 minutes, 13 seconds.
That was 1:44 ahead of runner-up Ashley King's 38:57.
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Varinka Ensminger took third, followed by 2012 runner-up and fellow Lexingtonian Betsy Laski.
Frith, a Bellarmine University junior majoring in exercise science, placed fifth in the 2011 Bluegrass 10K. She missed last year's race because of a stress fracture.
Thursday, her cautious strategy unfolded like a charm.
"I wanted to pick it up after the 5K, and then once I got to four miles I heard people just saying 'good job, lady' instead of 'ladies,'" Frith said. "So I was like 'OK, now I really have to go fast so I can maintain this.'
"But it wasn't a big issue for me to win. I just wanted to go out there and run hard, and I did that so I'm pleased with myself. And Andrea Richardson — she won it last year and she was here running — so that really helped me. Because we actually ran together for a couple miles, so that was fun."
Richardson eventually placed eighth, just behind Lexington Catholic 13-year-old Michaela Reinhart.
Runner-up King, 29, is a former Division III (Worcester Poly Tech) soccer player who didn't start running until after college.
The Louisville resident placed fifth last year in 40:27. That was her personal best until Thursday's 38:57.
"Really happy. I've never run a strong 10K. It's been a weakness for me," King said. "So to come out and finally get the sub-40 monkey off my back was really nice.
"Took it out a little easy on the first half, told myself to get up the hill at the 4½ (-mile mark), and then just take it in from there. Managed to pick off a couple people on the way down, and that made it fun."
The drizzle only added to the fun, she said.
"Much, much nicer than last year weather-wise. It felt good; never felt too hot," King said. "Last year was a sweat-fest."
Aerelle Jones and Taylor West, the first female wheelchair competitors since 2008, won their respective divisions.
Jones, 14, took push-chair honors in 44:17.
West, a 13-year-old from Monticello, won the crank-chair division in 50:23.
Jones, a Nicholasville home-schooler, had finished seven 5,000-meter races. But Thursday marked her first try at double the distance.
"It was slick and it was hard because I kept slipping on the rims, so God just pushed me through the end," she said.
Overall 34:44: 1987, Kristy Orre
Standard Wheelchair 42:09: 1991, Kim Martin
Crank Wheelchair 35:02: 2003, Whitley Goins
Top 10 female finishers
1. Emily Frith 37:10
2. Ashley King 38:55
3. Varinka Ensminger 38:59
4. Besty Laski 39:01
5. Cynthia Arnold 39:07
6. Shannon Florea 39:33
7. Michaela Reinhart 39:45
8. Andrea Richardson 39:59
9. Amanda Hancoch 40:19
10. Lisa Hayry 40:23