Ti Donaldson and Megan Binkley gained some training time Saturday morning in the Kinross Fort Knox Mosquito Meander 5-Kilometer Fun Race and Walk.
They also gained first-place finishes in the 27th edition of the out-and-back event from Pioneer Park.
Donaldson won overall in 16 minutes, and Binkley captured the women’s title and placed ninth overall in 19:58.
More than 330 runners and walkers completed the flat course that departed the Pioneer Park parking lot and included sections on Hilton Street, Second Avenue and the bicycle trail behind the Carlson Center before it finished near the Pioneer Park train depot.
Proceeds of the race benefitted the Resource Center for Parents and Children.
Donaldson, a former standout cross country runner, Nordic skier and track and field athlete for West Valley High School, said the Mosquito Meander helped with his training for the 2019-20 Nordic ski season for Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.
“5Ks are pretty good cross training for skiing,” Donaldson said. “Definitely just like a brutal distance. You’re close to going like maximal effort and trying to maintain that over 5,000 meters. It’s pretty difficult.
“So when training for skiing, it’s pretty important to get that kind of training in.”
5,000 meters equals 5 kilometers, which also equals 3.1 miles.
Donaldson finished considerably ahead of Ari Endestand, a 2019 West Valley graduate, and Daniel Abramowicz. It was, however, difficult for Donaldson to pace himself on the Mosquitio Meander’s flat layout.
“It’s definitely hard,” said the 19-year-old Montana State sophomore environmental engineering student.
Donaldson said he didn’t think too much about his pace while leading the race.
I just kind of went out, and knowing it’s a flat course, just tried to go out at a solid pace and just tried to keep it,” he said, “because if you got too slow on this, it’s pretty hard to negative split or just go fast over the race. At least for me, it’s hard to do that.
“Just knowing myself, (I was) just going out like pretty hard and trying to keep my strategy there.”
Endestad, who also was a standout cross-country runner, Nordic skier and track and field athlete for the Wolfpack, finished in 16:28 and Abramowicz came in three seconds later for thirrd place overall.
Alex Olson took fourth in 17:21, and Henry Domnarski, from Ware, Massachusetts, placed fifth overall in 18:09.
Binkley said she paced herself in the Mosquito Meander based on a goal of running a sub 20-minute 5K.
“I knew I shouldn’t go faster than a 6:30 (minutes per mile) pace. I just tried to hold that,” Binkley said as she did a cool-down run in the Pioneer Park parking lot after she finished the race.
Binkley used the Mosquito Meander as part of her training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November. The Philadelphia Marathon, she said, is helping her get ready for the Boston Marathon in April.
The Mosquito Meander was a good speed workout for both 26.2-mile races for the 33-year-old North Pole resident and Alaska Air National Guard employee.
“It overall helps with your fast-twitch muscles and my ability to run a faster pace for a longer distance,” she said.
Riga Grubis clocked 22:26 to finish as the women’s runner-up and 18th overall in the Mosquito Meander.
Abigail Jenkins was third in the group and 22nd overall in 22:55. Anna Bailey, with an effort of 23:02, placed fourth and was 22nd overall.
Mishelle Nace rounded out the women’s top five and placed 24th overall after finishing eight seconds behind Bailey.
Results of the race are listed on the Scoreboard on Page B2.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter: @newsminersports.