More than 6,000 runners and joggers raced along a traffic-free Pacific Coast Highway 101 Sunday for the Carlsbad 5000, returning after its pandemic pause.
Reigning champion Ed Cheserek of Kenya won again – just barely – with a time of 13:44.
“I’m excited to return to the Carlsbad 5000,” Cheserek said before the race. “Last time in 2019 was a lot of fun and after everything our running community has been through since then, I’m really looking forward to being back at the beach in sunny Southern California.”
Reid Buchanan of San Diego trailed Cheserek by just one second, in the men’s elite, in 13:45, followed by Jack Bruce of Australia.
In the women’s elite, Biruktayit Degefa of Ethiopia won with a time of 15:29. Dominique Scott of South Africa followed in 15:48, with Carina Viljoen, also of South Africa, taking third in 16:00.
The Carlsbad 5000 is renowned as “The World’s Fastest 5K,” with 16 world records having been set there, plus a slew of national records and age group bests.
Olympic gold medalists Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar and Eliud Kipchoge have run Carlsbad, along with U.S. Olympic medalists Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi.
Keflezighi, the San Diego High product and only male runner in history to win both the Boston and New York City marathons, plus an Olympic medal, now co-owns the event.
The race was first held in 1986; this was the 36th edition. Another plus – the race fits well on runners’ calendars, with the elite athletes being in peak fitness after running the World Cross Country Championships.
It may have been three years since the Carlsbad 5000 was held live (there was a virtual race in 2020), but the elements that characterize the race were back – the left-hand, downhill turn onto Carlsbad Village Drive, the sprint to the finish, and the ocean views along the way.
The Carlsbad 5000 also features a series of age-group races. Here are the winners:
- Men’s Masters, over-40, Roosevelt Cook of Hesperia.
- Women’s Masters, over-40, Meriah Earle of Escondido.
- Open Men, Dominic Henriques of Reno; Samuel Blake of San Diego finished third.
- Open Women, Sofie Schunk of Albuquerque; Anna Pasternak of San Diego finished third.