FAIRBANKS — Adam Albright and Max Kaufman paced a group of 11 runners Thursday night in a surprising Golden Leaf 8K at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ West Ridge Trails.
According to race director Roger Sayre, a passerby changed the course flag at the UAF Potato Field, approximately 2.5 miles into the cross country competition. The incident led participants to run distances different from the scheduled eight kilometers (4.96 miles).
“We kind of had runners going all over the place,” Sayre said Thursday night by telephone. “Everyone was good humored about it.”
Sayre said he suspected something was wrong when he saw a runner arrive at the finish line sooner than expected.
“One of the runners came in about five to six minutes faster than I expected,” Sayre said. “Then two more came in after him and I said ‘OK ... ’ Then there was a big gap.
“The first three had gone short,’’ he added.
Albright finished a 4.07-mile course in 27 minutes, 21 seconds and Charlie Parr was second at the distance in 28:03. Austin Johnson placed third among the short-course entries in 28:27 and Elizabeth Cogan, the lone woman in the race, finished fourth in 48:04.
Kaufman won in 35:42 on a longer course that was estimated from 5.1 miles to 5.4 miles.
Anna Worden was runner-up and the top woman in 40:43, while Nick Konefal placed third in 41:49. Jane Lanford took fourth and the women’s runner-up honor in 42:36.
Dan Bishop recorded a fifth-place run of 42:44 and Dan Callahan, West Valley High School head cross country coach, placed sixth in 42:51. Lee Kenaston rounded out the runners in the longer race with a time of 47:59.
The Golden Leaf was the second event in the Interior Alaska Cross Country Series.
The next race is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in Delta Junction, following the Delta Junction Invitational high school meet.
The fourth race of the series is slated for Oct. 1 with the Birch Hill 10K at the Birch Hill Recreation Area and race No. 5 takes place Oct. 8 with the Hale Bale and Heath 6K at the Dog Mushers Hall on Farmers Loop Road.
Contact sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586.