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Early lead key for Capitol 10,000 winner MacPherson

Brom Hoban
Kara June Thorne wins the Cap 10K a little more than a week after getting married.

Standing at the starting line for the 35th annual Statesman Capitol 10,000 in front of a field of nearly 23,000 runners Scott MacPherson wore a race bib that said it all: No. 1.

By the end of Sunday's race, MacPherson had lived up to his billing while also winning his second straight Cap 10K title.

MacPherson, a former University of Arkansas standout who now races for Team Rogue Elite in Austin, simply ran away from the field. In what amounted to a solo time trial, he covered the 6.2-mile route in 29 minutes, 50 seconds, only eight seconds off Nicodemus Malakwen's course record of 29:42, set in 2007.

A year ago, MacPherson won in 29:58, which at the time was one of only four sub-30 minute clockings since the Cap 10K course was certified as being a full 6.2 miles in 1988.

Erik Stanley, another Team Rogue runner, finished second in 30:48. Austinite David Fuentes — the champion of the 2011 San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon — took third, only three seconds behind Stanley.

Heading north on Congress Avenue toward the Capitol, MacPherson covered the first mile in 4:45 while moving comfortably from the front. When he reached the two-mile mark in 9:39, only Fuentes remained in contention.

"I wanted to make sure I went out in under 4:50," MacPherson said. "I figured if I did that, I could settle into a rhythm and then make up some time on the downhills. I had sub-30 in my head the whole time, and I was pretty sure I was going to do it."

MacPherson charged up the hills on Enfield Road to leave Fuentes in his wake and pass through three miles in 14:30. From that point, he was racing against the clock.

"Anyone with that caliber of speed is going to go to the front at the gun and set the tempo," Fuentes said. "He did, and I just tried to sustain. As we started rolling down Enfield, he was cranking up the hills pretty good. As we rounded that turn onto Veterans Drive from Atlanta Street, he was just gone."

In January, MacPherson had struggled to an 80th-place finish at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials, but he showed Sunday that he had fully recovered from the ordeal.

After hitting the five-mile mark in 23:58, he kicked hard upon reaching the South First Street bridge and fell just short of Malakwen's record.

Stanley caught Fuentes on the bridge and held him off for second place.

MacPherson will race in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Thursday at the Texas Relays, as he prepares for the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, which will start June 21 in Eugene, Ore.

"I'm really happy with Scott's performance today. We really haven't done a lot of work," said Steve Sisson, the co-owner of Rogue Training Systems who coaches MacPherson and won the Cap 10K himself in 1992.

"We've been in a situation of trying to get recovered from the marathon and get some comfortable running in.

"I'm happy that he stuck to his plan: He decided to put people away early and get into his own rhythm. I partly attribute his time today to the marathon training he did leading up to the trials."