CHAPEL HILL – A record number of runners hit the streets of Chapel Hill for the Sixth Annual Tar Heel 10 Miler early Saturday morning, and the first one to cross the finish line of the ten-mile course was Olympian Camas Kovacs.
“I (actually) feel pretty good,” Kovacs says. “It was just a test run for me. I’m (getting) back in shape and visiting North Carolina. I went to school at High Point University (and) graduated four years ago. Now I’m back on a visit. It was a good opportunity to put together the running the visit. It was a great course, too.”
Kovacs represented Hungary in the 2012 London Olympics’ marathon. He says Rio in 2016 is on his radar. He ran this year’s course in just more than 50 minutes.
The second place finisher in the 10 miler was UNC medical student Brock Baker.
“I won it last year, so I was hoping to win it again this year, but the guy who won ran a great race,” Baker says. “I ran about as fast as I did last year, so (I’m) overall pretty pleased with it.”
All week runners showed their support on Facebook and Twitter of those who were affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Less than 12 hours before the race began in Chapel Hill, Watertown, Massachusetts police captured the second suspect in the bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after a 24-hour manhunt.
Kovacs says Saturday’s race provided a great chance to celebrate as well as remember those who were affected.
“I was happy last night for (what) the police department did in Boston, so it was kind of motivation just to show everybody that we are runners (and) we still do what we like and they cannot terrorize us with these bombings or anything,” Kovacs says.
Baker says he wasn’t worried because he feels safe in Chapel Hill, and he says it was great to see everyone able to continue on despite that tragedy.
“It is a celebration; our hearts still go out to all those people that were injured and the families of those that lost their lives,” Baker says. “It’s a sad thing, but it’s also been really neat to see the way that everybody’s sort of been able to come together around that.”
Many smiles were seen Saturday morning at Kenan Stadium when more than 5,200 runners crossed the finish line. To see pictures from the event, click here.