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Women: Frith wins by 1:44 margin in Bluegrass 10,000

Emily Frith laughed after nearly colliding with Evelyn Bologna at the finish line of the Bluegrass 10,000 in downtown Lexington.
Emily Frith laughed after nearly colliding with Evelyn Bologna at the finish line of the Bluegrass 10,000 in downtown Lexington. Herald-Leader

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.

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.


Female records

Overall 34:44: 1987, Kristy Orre

Standard Wheelchair 42:09: 1991, Kim Martin

Crank Wheelchair 35:02: 2003, Whitley Goins


Top 10 female finishers

Chip time

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

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