TRAVERSE CITY —
Geoff Burns did not repeat as the men's 10K champion Saturday.
But the former Traverse City West distance runner played a role in determining who did.
Burns, along with his University of Michigan teammates Dallas Bowden and Brendon Blacklaws, all finished within a second of each other in the Traverse City State Bank Bayshore 10K. Bowden crossed the finish line in 32:41.38, Burns in 32:41.77 and Blacklaws in 32:42.40.
"Geoff took it out," Bowden said. "It's his home course. He knows it pretty well. We pulled up with him at about 5K and then ran together until the end."
Bowden and Blacklaws are New Zealand natives and this is their first year in the U.S. They're staying with the Burns family this weekend. Geoff's father, Bryan, is the Bayshore race director.
"We cruised the last part of the race together, feeding off each other and having fun," Geoff Burns said. "It's a privelege to have these guys come up here and enjoy northern Michigan. They're about a half a world away from home. It's nice to have them come up here and see what Traverse City is all about. My dad puts on a pretty classy event here and I wanted them to see it and see what road racing in America is all about."
The three just recently finished their outdoor season at Michigan.
"After the outdoor season ended we all took about a week off training," Burns said. "We have jelly legs."
But that didn't take away from the experience.
"This is a really nice course," Bowden said. "I enjoyed it."
In addition to running, Burns is also acting as a tour guide this weekend.
"We were driving around last night hitting all the spots," he said. "I took them up Wayne hill and showed them the nice view. I think they like being on the water. It reminds them of home. Maybe I'll take them to Empire next."
The women's 10K winner, Liz Shelton, is already somewhat familiar with the area — even though she is from Texas. Shelton won the 10K five years ago.
"A friend of ours who we used to run with in Austin is from Traverse City," Shelton said. "He said this is a great course. That's it's fast and the weather is usually cool.
"He was really bragging about it and it's lived up to those high standards. The people here are so nice and I love running on the peninsula. You have a beautiful city here."
Shelton, whose husband ran the half-marathon, set her PR in the 10K here in 2005, running a 37:26. She broke that mark Saturday with a 36:48.
"I ran with some gentlemen who really pushed me," Shelton said. "We all stayed together. They helped me maintain a really nice pace. I couldn't have done it by myself."
Angela Long finished second in 39:51.
"Perfect weather, perfect conditions," the Grand Rapids runner said. "I felt good. I felt strong. I pushed it to the end."
It was Long's first 10K.
"It was great," she said. "I would do it again."
Long, who ran the Bayshore Marathon in 2006, entered the race with her two sisters. But they didn't run together.
"They run at a different pace," she said.
So where did they part ways?
"Right at the start," Long said, laughing. "I went up to the front."
Shelton wins 2nd time
TRAVERSE CITY —
Geoff Burns did not repeat as the men's 10K champion Saturday.
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