Caitlin Busch was four years removed from her last time running in this race, but the Waterloo, Ill., native had no problem getting reacclimated with the course as she went on to win the women’s title in the Bluegrass 10,000 on Monday.
Close to 3,000 participants showed up under a cloudy sky for the event’s 40th running in downtown Lexington, and Busch, along with some of the other top women in the field, ran in the main tier for most of the race.
One of those was Lexington Catholic High School senior Michaela Reinhart. To start the race, Reinhart was unknowingly the women’s leader for the first mile, but she fell behind after starting too fast.
“For the first mile, I didn’t know where I was, actually,” Reinhart said. “Then two girls between miles one and two caught me right there and the one went on to win it.”
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The two girls who passed Reinhart were Busch and her twin sister Kristen Busch. Both of the sisters run on the cross country team at Bradley University in Illinois and were running in this event because of family that lives in town.
After passing Reinhart, Kristen Busch fell behind soon after because of an injury she sustained prior to the race, but Caitlin stayed right in front near the leaders.
“I just went out with the front guys and tried to cut my distance from them,” Busch said. “Just kept trying to keep the same pace throughout the whole race.”
With the few years between her running in the event, Busch’s memory of the course was hazy. Well aware of the loop throughout, she forgot about the incline in the back half of the course. The supporters on the side of the road helped her stay strong until the end, though.
“Everyone was cheering for me it was so awesome,” Busch said. “Even the other runners were cheering.”
The cheers carried her to a first-place finish in the women’s division and a top-10 finish overall. She finished with a time of 36:12. Reinhart followed in second place with a time of 37:50.
“This course was really fast, not any big hills,” Busch said. “Just the atmosphere, I’d never been in a race like that.”
Top five female finishers
1. Caitlin Busch: 36:12
2. Michaela Reinhart: 37:50
3. Aurelia Skipwith: 37:57
4. Jamie Adkins: 38:05
5. Kaia Hampton: 38:21
Click here to view complete results for the 2016 Bluegrass 10,000.