DIXON – Another Reagan Run, another course record for Paul Zeman.
The 20-year-old from Belvidere who will be a junior on the University of Illinois cross country and track teams, won his third Reagan Run 5K Saturday, and again did it in record-setting fashion.
Extreme heat and humidity could hardly slow down Zeman in 2012, when he broke his own course record. Saturday, he was at it again in far more friendly conditions, cruising to victory in a time of 15 minutes, 12 seconds – 8 seconds better than a year ago.
Zeman runs the Reagan Run for his grandpa, Dixon's Paul Zeman.
"That's why I come here to run this every year," Zeman said. "I wanted to win for my grandpa."
Zeman was pleased with his performance, considering the grueling training he's been doing of late.
"This is my first 100-mile week of the summer, so I was pretty tired coming in," he said. "Once I got through 2 miles, I knew I was ahead of where I was last year, so I wanted to push a little more and run a little faster."
Sterling's Dylan Reyes, 21, a former Newman High School and current University of St. Francis standout, did well to finish 42 seconds behind Zeman for second.
"I held with him the first mile at 4:37 or 4:39, then I thought, 'Oh no, not again,'" Reyes said. "But, actually I held a lot better than I did last year. My main goal was under 16 minutes. It's the first time I've ever broke 16 on this course."
Ronald Hedman, 20, of Elmhurt, was third at 16:10, followed by Mark Johnson, 38, of Sterling at 16:51. Fourteen-year-old Chris Ahlers of Sterling, a soon-to-be freshman at Newman, took fifth at 17:11.
"This is my third time running this, and my times are always about the same," said Johnson, who teaches at Rock Falls High School. "But that's good, because I'm getting a little older. I'm just a pacer. I don't have much speed left, but I can pace myself."
Ahlers is gearing up for the AAU Junior Olympics in Ypsilanti, Mich., July 26-Aug. 3.
"I went out with the strategy of running my own race," he said. "But, when you see people around you, you kind of get into it. And, I'm glad that happened, because I ran much faster by doing that."
1. Paul Zeman 15:12
2. Dylan Reyes 15:56
3. Ronald Hedman 16:10
4. Mark Johnson 16:51
5. Chris Ahlers 17:11