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Holland, Klimek win Butte to Butte race

EUGENE — Two runners from the Rogue Valley finished atop their divisions in the 2021 Aquafina OTC Butte to Butte 10K on Sunday.

EJ Holland, 19, an Ashland High alumnus, and Marci Klimek, 33, a Phoenix High alumna, won the overall men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, in close races.

Klimek, in particular, battled down to the finish line to complete the race in 33 minutes, 31.8 seconds, and hold off Kate Peters, 16, who finished in 33:32.

Holland clocked a time of 29:43.7, finishing less than four seconds shy of the course record (29:40) set by Joe Bosshard, of Boulder, Colorado, in 2016. Close behind Holland was Roman Kirkov, 27, who finished in 29:46.

The Butte to Butte event began in 1973 among athletes who ran to the top of Spencer Butte and along Willamette Street before it was paved. The course now begins at Spencer Butte Middle School, and challenges athletes early up the Donald Street hill, before dropping down Fox Hollow and finishing near Skinner Butte in downtown Eugene, hence the name Butte to Butte.

The event averages 4,000 participants annually across the 10K, 5K run/walk and 4-mile run/walk.

Klimek and Holland had decorated prep careers at their respective schools before continuing success at colleges in their home state.

Klimek starred at Linfield, where she set school track and field records in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races, and also won the 2011 Portland Marathon, finishing the 26.2 mile course in 2:46:27. Klimek, a six-time Pear Blossom Run champion, has continued to compete in marathons and other distance events.

Klimek also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials ahead of the 2020 games, and competed in the trials in early 2020 along with fellow Rogue Valley runners Camelia Mayfield, of Ashland, and Amanda Phillips, of Phoenix.

Holland, who was a six-time state champion between cross-country and track and field at Ashland, began his collegiate career with the Ducks after graduating in 2020. At the Pac-12 Championships in March, Holland’s time of 23:48.9 placed third in Oregon’s lineup and 31st overall in the men’s 8K.

On the Ducks’ track and field team, the freshman also accomplished the feat of running an indoor sub-4:00 mile when he finished in 3:59.95 at the Tyson Invitational in February. Holland became the 26th athlete in Oregon men’s program history to join the indoor list.

The Ducks begin the 2021 fall season Sept. 1 at the Lewis & Clark Opener in Lake Oswego.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Ashland High alum EJ Holland, seen here in a file photo, won the Butte to Butte 10k in Eugene this past weekend.