ROAD RACING: Farmer, triathletes set pace |

ROAD RACING: Farmer, triathletes set pace

Ex-Torrey star wins San Dieguito half; Major tops women

While Daniel Farmer was running away with the San Dieguito Half Marathon on Sunday, an Ironman Triathlon preview broke out behind him.

Farmer, a former Torrey Pines High and Palomar College cross country standout, set the pace for a field of nearly 2,600 runners, taking the men’s crown with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes, 5 seconds.

“I felt pretty good today,” said Farmer, a 23-year-old Escondido resident. “I just kept pushing the uphills, because Okwaro (Raura) was really flying on the downhills.”

In the women’s race, a pair of champion triathletes originally from Australia turned in strong performances as a tune-up to next month’s Ironman California race in Oceanside. Kate Major took the initiative from the start and won in her debut on the 13.1-mile course over the hills of Rancho Santa Fe, finishing in 1:20:24. Nearly two minutes behind was former Olympian Michellie Jones, who finished second in 1:22:18.

“It was a solid run,” said the 32-year-old Major, now an Encinitas resident.

“I’m always back in Australia this time of year, so this is the first time I’ve been able to run this race.”

Major said she was getting back to her racing schedule after taking a few weeks off in Australia.

“It was good to get the cobwebs out,” Major said. “I have the Ironman California coming up, and I’m just trying to get into good form.”

Major had a 45-second lead over Jones at the halfway point and expanded it from there.

“She definitely accelerated after that,” Jones said. “I’m happy. This is the fastest I’ve been this time of year. I felt comfortable. I started super easy and just built from there.”

Jones, 40, also has her sights set on Ironman California.

“I want to do well at Oceanside, and I’m ahead of where I’ve been this time of year,” she said. “I want to give those Masters girls a run.”

Joanna Zeiger placed third among the women in 1:22:42.

Like Major, Farmer also bested his nearest competitor by almost two minutes. Carlsbad’s Chris Hupfeld, 41, overcame Raura near the end of the race to finish second in 1:13:56.

“Okwaro was walking at the bottom of the last hill, so something was really bothering him,” Hupfeld said.

Raura, who placed second here last year, did not finish. Ross Dammann of San Diego was third in 1:15:35.

Farmer, who helped Torrey Pines win back-to-back CIF San Diego Section championships in cross country in 2002-03 and is now an assistant coach at the school, placed third last week at the St. Patrick’s 10K in San Diego.

“I ran a pretty consistent pace the last two races,” he said. “I ran a 5:26 mile pace in the 10K, and today I was at 5:29.”

In Sunday’s 5-kilometer race, San Diego’s Dima Lehonkov was the top male finisher in 15:19 while Carlsbad’s Joey Bonfiglio paced the women in 17:47.

“The weather was spectacular,” said Major, ” and this is such a beautiful, quiet place to run.”

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Posted on: February 14, 2010