Runner Brent Labhart of Portland posted a time of 18:01 for the win in Saturday’s Gold Rush Run and Walk 5K in Canyon City.
It was just 2 seconds shy of the 17:59 record he set a few years ago.
The event, which is a part of the ’62 Days celebration commemorating the discovery of gold in Canyon City, had 24 runners and walkers participating.
The athletes took a route through the historic town, including up the steep incline of Rebel Hill Road and past the old schoolhouse, which is now a private home, ending at the starting point in front of Sels Brewery.
“The elevation is difficult,” said Labhart, who grew up in the area. “It was a bit of a brutal run for me, but I’ll take the time.”
Mark Kerstens of Massachusetts, who worked in the area last summer, returned for the race, finishing 16 seconds behind Labhart.
“It was a good race,” he said. “(Brent) was really pushing the pace. I couldn’t miss this race.”
“This is a tradition,” Labhart said. “It’s a fun race.”
Eleven-year-old Grant Hall of John Day, who finished fifth, also ran a half marathon the weekend before in Newport.
“It was pretty fun,” he said of the Gold Rush Run. “I passed up a teenager.”
The first-place finisher in the women’s division was Dr. Janessa Sickler of Canyon City, posting a time of 24:33.
The youngest competitor, 3-year-old Sam Bailey, finished the race in 28:22, and he had a grin on his face as he reached the finish line with his father, Dr. Zac Bailey.
“I can run so fast because I’m this many years old,” he said, holding up three fingers.
Hardly out of breath, the youngster ran back up Washington Street to meet his mom, then ran with her to the finish line as she pushed his baby sister in a jogging stroller.
Hugh Snook, who has organized the race for 18 years, said it was a bigger race in the ’70s and ’80s, but he was happy with the turnout on what was a rainy weekend.
He said he tries to keep the traditions going, including dropping a “golden nugget” into a gold pan to give runners their start.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for this race,” he said.
Gold Rush Run and Walk 5K results:
Brent Labhart, 1, 18:01
Mark Kerstens, 2, 18:17
Tanner Elliott, 3, 20:10
Kevin Nelson, 4, 22:02
Grant Hall, 5, 22:20
“Pre” McDonald, 6, 22:44
Austin Cates, 7, 22:54
David Hall, 8, 22:55
Brandon Sickler, 9, 23:55
Levi Manitsas, 9, 23:55
Janessa Sickler, 10, 24:33
Heather Bailey, 11, 26:38
Shanniyah Hall, 12, 27:18
Nate Andrews, 13, 27:40
Sam Bailey, 14, 28:22
Zac Bailey, 14, 28:22
Kristin Long, 15, 28:16
Tammy McKenna, 16, 28:17
Amelia Hall, 17, 32:09
Eliza Bailey, 18, 32:27
Madelyn Bailey, 19, 33:42
Noxi Long, 20, 55:34
Kelsey Long, 20, 55:34