A college student with aspirations of becoming a wildland forest fighter and a high school teacher ran their way to the men's and women's championships of the inaugural Resolution Run 10K.
At the competition, Jan. 28, near Green Valley Park, Joe Behrens -- competing in the 20- to 29-year-age group -- won both the men's and overall run titles, covering the rugged 6.2-mile course in 37:02.
The former Longhorn cross country star -- now a student at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff -- said after the race that he was getting in shape for his upcoming summer job as a USFS Hotshot at the Blue Ridge ranger station.
The women's division champion, Cynthia Pool (40- to 49-year-age group) was clocked in 44:06. Pool, a first-year chemistry teacher at Payson High School, sports a long list of athletic accomplishments. She has competed in triathlons, national bike races (including the El Tour de Tucson) and is a past winner of the Monsoon 5K and Payson Area Habitat for Humanity runs.
Behrens' stiffest competition on the cool, crisp morning was provided by Payson High School junior Carlan Pontious. The Longhorn cross country and track and field stalwart was timed in 38:01.
Behrens said he took over the lead about one mile into the course and held it the remainder of the race.
The most familiar face in the run might have been that of 72-year-old Tom Cooka. The veteran runner, fresh off a one-half marathon in the Valley, won the 70-years-and-over championship, finishing in 52:27.
About 50 entrants participated in the 10K and an accompanying two-mile fun run.
Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind called the inaugural run a success, saying the P&R department would try to host another event.
The 10K is the first that has been held in the Rim Country since the Christopher Creek-Kohl's Ranch Run was discontinued a decade ago.