Cowtown 10K winner finds some perspective in running

Posted Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Topics: Fort Worth



The winners

Men’s 10K: Antti-Pekka Niinisto, Flintstone, Md., 31:16

Women’s 10K: Emily Van Dyken, Fort Worth, 37:50

Men’s 5K: Dereje Hailegiorgis, Arlington, 15:00

Women’s 5K: Jessica Smith, Trophy Club, 18:21

Boys 5K: James Sheriff, Wichita Falls, 18:51

Girls 5K: Cryslan Tucker, Holliday, 19:50

Today’s races

7 a.m.: Half marathon, marathon, ultra marathon

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Emily Van Dyken returned from a trip to Hungary in need of some soul searching.

She did it through running.

A pianist from Washington who moved to the area to earn a master’s degree from TCU, returned from the former Soviet bloc unsure where her education would lead her.

“Some things [with music] didn’t work out, so I really felt pretty lost,” said Van Dyken, who settled in Fort Worth. “I didn’t know what to do. Running was something I loved. I started running six days a week just to see if I was any good at it and started getting faster.”

Van Dyken was better than any runner in the field of female runners at the Cowtown Marathon 10K on Saturday, covering the 6.2 mile course in a personal-record time of 37 minutes, 50 seconds.

That was better than Fort Worth resident Kristin Garcia by about a minute and a half.

Before Van Dyken’s identity as a born-again Texan was revealed, the only recognizable face across the finish line was the mayor herself.

A self-described “plodder,” Betsy Price, a cyclist at heart, strode through the course in 1:28:37.

The fastest of the day was Antti-Pekka Niinisto, a native Findlander now of Maryland who blazed a course record in 31:16.

Brent Pouslen, a Canadian-turned Fort Worthian, was second at 33:21.

While the February morning chill nipped at all the feet of those who still run outside to get a newspaper, the runners praised both the weather and course, which started uphill but flattened as it progressed. More than 13,000 participated in the 5K and 10K races.

Dereje Hailegiorgis of Arlington and Austin Christian, one of a wagonful of Oklahomans who make the trip every year, were tops in the men’s 5K race, finishing in 15:00 and 15:51.

“I was with him the first mile, then he was gone,” said Christian, a runner at East Central University in Ada, Okla.

Jessica Smith, 35, of Trophy Club, topped female runners in the the 5K with a time of 18:21. Lauren Brandon, 27, of Fort Worth was next at 19:24.

Brandon is a professional triathlete. Smith, in her second appearance at the Cowtown, will be back today participating in the half-marathon.

“I’m really excited” about the personal record, said Van Dyken, who ran her first marathon in 2009 but became “serious” about running the next year.

“I think I went as hard as I could, but it didn’t feel that hard. I think I have a really good spring ahead of me.”

And a music career, too.

Van Dyken is refocused and ready to re-engage her first love as a professional pianist, employing the master’s diplomacy over those delicate steel wire strings.

The break she needed is over. This composer and improviser has set up some concerts in April.

She’s poised to make music every bit as beautiful as her stride was on Saturday.

“Coming from music I was very disciplined and goal oriented,” Van Dyken. “In running, I had something again that I could work for and that I loved and see myself get better at.

“So that was neat for me. The more I did it the more I got hooked on it.”

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
Cincinnati0Delayed | Box
Baltimore0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-OH, MASN
Detroit1Bottom 6th | Box
Cleveland2@theBallpark | TV: FSN-DET, STO
Boston7Top 6th | Box
NY Yankees3@theBallpark | TV: NESN, YES
Philadelphia2Bottom 7th | Box
Atlanta0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, SPSO
NY Mets8Top 6th | Box
Miami5@theBallpark | TV: SNY, FSN-FL
Toronto5Bottom 6th | Box
Tampa Bay2@theBallpark | TV: SNET, Sun Sports
Milwaukee1Bottom 3rd | Box
Chicago Cubs4@theBallpark | TV: FSN-WI, CSN-CHI+
LA Angels0Top 4th | Box
Houston4@theBallpark | TV: FSN-W, CSN-HOU
Texas0Bottom 4th | Box
Kansas City1@theBallpark | TV: FSN-SW, FSN-KC
Chicago WSox3Bottom 3rd | Box
Minnesota3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-N
Pittsburgh2Top 4th | Box
St. Louis2@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-PIT, FSN-MW
San Francisco0Bottom 2nd | Box
Colorado2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, ROOT-RM
Seattle 9/2 10:05 PM ET
Washington 9/2 10:10 PM ET
Los Angeles TV: MASN 2, SportsNet LA
Arizona 9/2 10:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-SD
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 1Full Scoreboard
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
Seattle TV: NBC
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
New England 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:25 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Carolina 4:25 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
Denver TV: NBC
NY Giants 7:10 PM ET
Detroit TV: ESPN
San Diego 10:20 PM ET
Arizona TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 02Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard