Tom Dale saw a group runners ahead of him just over a mile into the 10-kilometer race of the Run Lulu Run on Saturday.
So Dale wasn’t sure what place he was in when he crossed the finish line near Lulu’s Bread and Bagels in 48 minutes, 47 seconds.
After running about a mile up Chena Ridge Road, the racers were supposed to take a right on Yak Road and run past the Yak Estate Apartments.
“There was just a big clot of guys ahead of me and they kept going past this turn that I remembered from last year,” Dale said while recalling the moment after the race. “So when I got pretty close to the turn, I said to the guy next to me, ‘Aren’t we supposed to turn here?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’”
Dale and the other runner tried calling ahead to the racers, but most were too far ahead to hear.
After he turned onto Yak Road, it occurred to Dale that he might be leading the race, since he didn’t see anyone ahead of him make the correct turn, but he wasn’t sure.
“I started to wonder if someone was so far ahead of me at the turn that I never even saw them,’’ he said.
Even though three racers crossed the finish line on Kentshire Drive before him, a discussion with the race directors at the finish clarified that Dale was the first to finish after running the correct course.
“If I’ve won, that’s awesome,” Dale said. “I’ve never won a race, so that’s exciting.”
Wendy Demers won the 10K for the women in 59:03.
Besides the 35 runners competing in the 10K, 45 runners raced simultaneously in the the Run Lulu Run 5K. Brandon Davis and Jill Winford paced the 5K men and women respectively in 25:35 and 28:06.
Eighteen-year-old Davis said he just entered the race “mostly for fun and to get back into shape.”
“When I found myself in first, I figured I might as well try to win it,” Davis said after the race.
Davis started the race in third but took the lead after about five minutes. After 10 minutes of racing, he said he felt confident in his lead and felt he could win.
But the first mile of the race up Chena Ridge Road proved to be challenging for Davis.
“There was one point where I almost walked, but I just told myself I needed to keep going,” he said.
Winford expressed similar sentiments about the early uphill section, but she said the training she’s been doing for the Goldstream to HooDoo Half Marathon in October helped her up the hill.
Saturday’s 5K also was a training run for Winford to help improve her speed for the Goldstream to HooDoo event, which takes place Oct. 12 and goes for 13.1 miles from Goldstream Sports to the HooDoo Brewing Co.
All proceeds from Saturday’s races went directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.