Cole Watson raced to a men’s course record — beating the man who previously held it, Max King — and Marci Klimek won her sixth women’s championship in the 41st annual Pear Blossom Run today in Medford.
Watson, a former Rogue River High and University of Oregon runner, finished the 10-mile race in 49 minutes, 5 seconds, bettering the standard of 49:10 King set in 2011.
King, the winningest men’s runner in Pear Blossom history, was second in 50:31.
The two went out side by side for the first 5 miles before Watson, the Rogue Community College cross-country coach, pulled ahead on the return trip over the out-and-back course and easily defended the title he won in his debut last year.
King was entered for the first time since he claimed his seventh title in 2012.
Klimek, a former Phoenix High standout who now lives Cambridge, Massachusetts, returned to the race after missing last year because of injury. Her time of 57:15 was only 11 seconds off the course record she set in 2015.
Klimek’s victory moves her closer to the overall record of nine set by Deanna Schiedler-O’Neil, who last won in 2003.
Schiedler-O’Neil won a record six straight in the 1990s, a mark Klimek would have challenged last year had a pelvic stress fracture not sidelined her.
Heather Johnson, of Medford, placed second in 1:01.45.