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Cabada Wins Great Cow Harbor 10K

Mattie Suver is the women's champion.

Mattie Suver was the women’s champion.

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NORTHPORT, N.Y. It was a Colorado sweep at Friday’s Great Cow Harbor 10-K on Long Island, as Boulder’s Fernando Cabada and Colorado Springs’s Mattie Suver took the top spots at the event’s 36th edition. Though they share the same home state, Cabada and Suver earned their crowns in far different fashion: Cabada a break away title in 29:32.11 and Suver a final sprint clocked in at 33:31.74.

Cabada Runs Away With Men’s Title

For the 31-year-old Cabada, the race began among a group of nine, all bunched together. As the lead pack wound their way through the opening downhill mile, most men had their mind focused on four-time champion Mo Trafeh. Sporting a USA vest, Trafeh tucked himself into the pack, letting others do the pacing.

When the first move was eventually made by Matt Llano closing in on the opening mile mark, nearly everyone responded with ease. Except for Trafeh.

“When he didn’t really blast from the start I just said ‘ignore it. If he goes, he goes,'”  said Brendan Gregg of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. While Llano kept pushing the pace with Cabada and Gregg in his slipstream, Trafeh gradually fell back more and more, a consequence of not being in racing shape. As he would later explain to Race Results Weekly that he felt off from the mile mark on.

“I came here and tried to see how my body feels, test my fitness. As you can tell, I am not in good shape,” he said in a low tone. “It just wasn’t my day. I know when it’s my day and I know when it’s not my day.” He added: “Today I could feel my body was not responding.”

Ahead of Trafeh, the lead group powered up the James Street Hill approaching two miles, eyes down and arms furiously pumping. It was then that Cabada –running in his fourth race in as many weekends– took over the lead from Llano. He would stay in front through halfway, hit in 14:52.

Finding himself all alone meters ahead of Llano and Gregg, Cabada was a bit surprised.

“I didn’t really mean to make a move, it just kind of happened. It was instincts,” he said. “I think I’m starting to like running in front.”

Up and down the hilly course he’d run in the lead, maintaining a four-second margin over the chasing Gregg through miles four and five. The gap would only grow as he made the downhill charge towards the finish adjacent to Northport Harbor.

Crossing the line comfortably in front in 29:32.11, Cabada was pleased with his performance. After racing well four weeks in a row, the lanky athlete revealed his secret.

“I’m not running a marathon so I’m just running about 30 to 40 minutes a day in between [races]. It’s all about the races and getting my confidence,” he said. “Now I’m going to step back, go back to training, and I’m going to be confident in training.”

Seven seconds behind Cabada came Gregg, 29:39.52, with Llano rounding out the top three (29:44.43). Trafeh wound up eighth in 31:00.76, his slowest time in the last five years.

Suver Captures Women’s Title In Ferocious Finish

Mattie Suver’s success in the Empire State continued with a come-from-behind victory. After Amy Van Alstine, Kellyn Johnson, and Katie DiCamillo took the race out at a fast clip, the 26-year-old found herself behind, needing a strong second half to make the podium.

In the thick of ING New York City Marathon training, Suver had a hard time at first matching the quick turnover of her fellow competitors. Up front, Van Alstine had taken over the leading duties from Johnson, pushing and feeling confident.

“Between mile four and five, I was like ‘I have to go now or else I’m going to get passed at the end,'” said Van Alstine. “That was the plan to go since the last mile was downhill.”

Van Alstine’s plan worked at first, gaining a slight edge on her compatriots. With a mile to go and in the lead, Van Alstine’s mindset changed from breaking away to becoming champion.

“In the last mile I was like, ‘I could be the Cow Harbor champ,’ she described. “‘Why not [win], let’s do this!'”

The only thing standing between Van Alstine and the $3,500 champion’s check was a hard charging Suver, second at the recent USA 20-K championships.

Shortly after turning onto Main Street for the final mile, Suver came up on Van Alstine’s shoulder. They would crest the hill close together.

Not until 100 meters or so remained did Suver make the pass in full sprint mode.

“My legs were shot, pretty much dead and I was hoping I wouldn’t fall over,” Suver said with a laugh. At the tape, it would be the closest race in Great Cow Harbor 10-K history: Suver’s 33:31.74 to Van Alstine’s 33:33.23.

The win was bittersweet for Suver– excited to come away with the victory, though feeling sad for Van Alstine, who gave all she had to lead and fend her off in the final mile.

“I hate when that happens to me so I kind of feel bad about that but she ran a really tough race,” said Suver.

“It’s unfortunate but I was happy with it,” said Van Alstine, who is traveling to Providence, R.I., for Sunday’s USA 5-K Road Championships.

Suver’s win continues her great streak in New York. In June, she was fourth overall and the top American at the Oakley New York Mini 10-K.

“I’m liking New York so far,” she said with a bubbly laugh. “Hopefully I can keep the good luck going” for November’s Marathon.

Behind Suver and Van Alstine came Johnson in 33:42.65, followed by Katie DiCamillo and Wendy Thomas. Finishing in the top ten for the eighth straight year was Alisha Williams, taking sixth. DiCamillo and Williams are also running the ING New York City Marathon; Thomas is running Twin Cities.

For 10 years, the Great Cow Harbor 10-K has only awarded American prize money, something for which Elite Athlete Recruiter Will Fodor said the race prides itself on.

“We are committed to developing American distance running,” said Fodor. Past champions of the event include Olympians Ryan Hall, Anthony Famiglietti, Colleen De Reuck, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, and Janet Bawcom. Former marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi was the 1994 champion before becoming an American citizen.