By MIKE ECKERT
TRAVERSE CITY — Aubrie Deal has run in about 10 5Ks, but said Thursday's Traverse City Turkey Trot was her best race.
Her race on Thursday was also better than everyone else. And keep in mind, she's only 11 years old.
Deal, a 6th grader at Traverse City West Middle School, crossed the finish line at Thirlby Field in 20 minutes, 42 seconds to win the women's 5K.
Jessie Houghton from Traverse City was second in 21:54 while Tia Town was third in 22:35.
While Deal won the women's 5K by over a minute, the men's race was much closer. TC Central alum Jacob Secor won by less than a second over Andrew Palmer, a sophomore runner at Syracuse.
Palmer actually crossed the finish line first, but Secor won based on chip time.
"I missed the start, because I wasn't quite sure when they were going off," Secor said. "The year before, they let all the 5-milers go out and waited a little bit. So that's what I was expecting. I was still fumbling through the start line when they started everyone out. So that made up the difference there."
Last year, Secor crossed the finish line third, but ended up fourth in the final chip time. This year, the official results went in his favor.
"We pretty much ran together," Secor said of Palmer. "It took me awhile to catch him, but we were pretty much shoulder to shoulder after that. I knew as long as we were close, I'd probably win because his time had already started."
Geoff Burns finished third in the 5K in 17:01.
In the 5-mile race, Rapid City's Trevor Darnell won in 28:43. He held off his running partner, Kyle Kiel from Alden, who finished second in 28:58. Matthew Kulka from Traverse City was third in 30:13.
"I was pretty casual," Darnell said. "I didn't want to push it, because I'm not in great shape yet. This is my offseason. I cruised. My running partner actually led the whole race until the last mile. He did all the work, honestly. I just held on."
Darnell said that he's been running more than normal this offseason because Kiel is training for the Boston Marathon.
Kiel led until the 5 mile course regrouped with the 5K runners on the north end of Boardman Lake.
"Right through the bridge at the 4 mile, it was really congested," Darnell said. "He (Kiel) was trying to weave through people and he opened the pathway for me. I just held on and passed him in the last mile."
In the women's 5-mile race, Liana Kozachik from Traverse City won in 29:55. Kelly Milliken was second in 30:41 while Jami Rodes — who won last year's inagural 5-mile race — was third in 31:53.
Weather was unseasonably warm for the fifth-annual race.
"It was fun," Darnell said. "This was perfect running weather. It was a little breezy at one point, but it was nice."