Gonzales, Brothers Victorious At Strawberry Festival 5K

Runners of all ages enjoy strawberries post-race; festival proceeds to support Vista schools and local charities.

VISTA, Calif. — On a picture-perfect Sunday morning, Sergio Gonzales defended his title at the 2nd Kaiser Permanente Vista Strawberry Festival 5K, but he had to run faster than last year and beat back a determined challenger to do it.

Gonzales, 24, of San Marcos, edged 36-year-old Nazario Romero to win the 2011 edition of the race held in downtown Vista by a second. Both Gonzales and Romero averaged a fast 4:53 per mile, with Gonzales coming home in 15 minutes, 12 seconds followed by Romero in 15:13. In third for the men was David Edwards, 24, of San Diego, in 15:20.

“It wasn’t my personal best, but it was a good tune-up for the Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Half,” said Gonzales.

Romero wasn’t able to regain his Carlsbad 5000 time of 14:15, but enjoyed the course. “It was a great run. Beautiful weather,” he said. “I’ll be back next year.”

Meanwhile, Jessica Brothers, 29, also of San Marcos, had a slightly easier time in winning the women’s title. Brothers, the runner-up last year, ran the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes to finish 16th overall as well.

“I competed in high school and college, and now I’m with the Running Center,” said Brothers. “It wasn’t my best time but I was injured in the winter and I’m just coming back. This was good training for steeplechase.”

Bertha Campos, 37, of San Diego, was the women’s runner-up in 18:21, with Terra Sarnacki, 33, of Oceanside, third in 19:41.

Among Vista runners, youth was served. Derek Stotter, 18, was the fastest Vista resident finisher in 17:27, nine seconds better than 15-year-old Joe Lopez with Marco Ramirez, 51, third (17:49). For the Vista women, Megan Jarvis, 15, was the fastest runner in 19:57 and Elizabeth May, just 13, was second in 20:17 and Nica Hernandez, 17, third in 21:27.

At the second event edition, fresh strawberries awaited the more than 1,400 finishers plus 320 kids from the 1 mile race, and proceeds from the Strawberry Festival will go to the Vista schools and local charities

From: Running USA

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