FAIRBANKS-Last night at West Valley High School was the Jim Loftus Mile Run. It's open to all who want to go four times around the track at West Valley high school. It's in honor of the late Jim Loftus who was a fixture in the local running community. His family was on hand to run and support as well as some top Interior runners. 50 people signed up before the race.
There were seven heats, two for kids, two women's heats and three men's heats.
Former Lathrop Soccer player Melanie Nussbaumer blazed the track for the fastest women's time out the two heats. She finished in 5:39.
"I came here knowing I was going to run it really fast. It's nothing," Nussbaumer said. "If you can hold a 6:24 average for six miles I figure I've only got to be running for five to six minutes. Just run as far as you can for five to six minutes.
It was all in the family in two of the men's heats. Casey Smith, Jim Loftus son-in law won the first men's heat in 6:16. Devin McDowell, who is coming off an Achilles injury had the top heat time of the night running away from the pack and finishing in 4:50.
"You know my leg is feeling a lot better from that [Achilles] so it's feeling good. Glad to get back out. Got to run a leg in the Sluice Box on Saturday so hopefully keep it going for that."
Also Oliver Loftus won the second heat with ease finishing in 5:53. This Loftus first time running in the third race of the Flint Hills Cup series that's in his father's name.
"It's pretty cool you know in the past couple of years I've gotten a lot more involved with the Running Club and it's been really good," Loftus. "They're just really an awesome group of people and they're very supportive and yeah it's great everyone's out here to have a good time and that's what it's all about."