The Fifth Season Race
Event Record Holders:
Keith Brantly: Official time = 22:38 – Year 1988
Cynthia Limo: Official time = 25:48 – Year 2014
The Fifth Season 8K Race
It’s a race that’s been run by collegiate All Americans, NCAA Champions, Olympians and the winner of the Boston Marathon. This race is the longest consecutively held 8k event in the USA and has awarded more prize money than any other 8k race in the country.
Summer in Iowa isn’t complete without Fourth of July traditions: warm humid weather, spitting seeds from home grown watermelon and watching fireworks blazing the skies with family and friends. Add to the list – the Corridor Running Fifth Season Race.
The Fifth Season Race started in 1986, after the running boom of the early ’80s, on a date no other Iowa race has managed to attain much runner or community support. But with a blast it started, lighting up the Iowa running scene. No other Iowa race was offering “big time” cash prizes but Fifth Season shot off like a rocket with over $7000 in prize money its’ first year. Some had tried, few had success with kid’s races but Fifth Season sparkled brightly with hundreds of children filling the streets.
Fifth Season shined brilliantly from its’ first year and has become a rocket of enthusiasm, family fun, community involvement and fast times ever since.
Fifth Season Race Directors
1986 to 1987 – Ken Paulsen
1988 to 1992 – Ray Johnston
1993 to 1994 – Chuck Reed, Anne McCormick & Lois Kabela-Coates
1995 – Nick Gearhart, Greg Hayes & Graham Wood
1996 to 1998 Nick Gearhart & Greg Hayes
1999 to 2003- Dick Morrison
2004 to 2010 – Mike Regan
2011 to 2016 – Colin Flynn
2017 – Mark Powers
2018 – 2019 – Brian Tharp, Jim Dwyer, Mark Powers
2017 A warm morning with a low of 63 degrees at 6 a.m. when it warmed up to a high of 88 degrees at noon. The first three runners finished the 8K in 4:46, 4:48 and 4:50 per mile pace. Kurui Evans in 1st with a time of 23:42, followed by Tiidrek Nurme in 2nd and Kevin Lewis in 3rd. The first seven runner’s finished under 4:59 mile pace. Cynthia Jerop finished took the victory as first female for the second year in a row. She finished in a time of 27:19.
2016 A light mist & temps in the mid 60’s made for great racing with three runners having Iowa connections grabbing 1st, 2nd & 3rd places. Brogan Austin, a former Drake University athlete took the win in a time of 23:56, and former Iowa Hawkeyes Nick Holmes & Kevin Lewis took second and third, respectively. On the women’s side Cynthia Jerop finished far ahead of the remainder of the women’s field in a time of 27:01.
2015 Another year for a cool weather start with a 63 degree temp as the starting gun sounded. Abraham Chelanga was an easy victor for the men with a finish time of 23;32. On the women’s side, 18 year old Abgael Wanjika, traveling in from Lansing, MI became the women’s race champion. Abgael picked up bonus prize money for eclipsing the 19 and under age division record for the event. Daniel Bonthuis of Iowa City also set an age division record for the men’s 55-59 age group to collect $200.
2014 ushered in a new race sponsor for the 8k event, with Health Solutions of Cedar Rapids becoming the new supporter of this long held annual event. The race enjoyed a very cool 60 degree temperature at the start, roughly a 25 degree dip from two years prior. The racers loved the conditions and Cynthia Limo of Ethiopia smashed the event record for the women’s division with a time of 25:48. On the men’s side, the overall winner was Edward Tabut in 24:16. Iowa City’s Zach Baker ran a very impressive race, taking home 3rd place in a time of 24:26.
2013 Fifth Season started and ﬁnished in the comfortable conﬁnes of Greene Square, a old tradition from decades prior. Amazingly Alliant Energy the sponsor for 27 years, was no longer. A beautiful morning and perfect temperature greeted the runners with Elly Sang winning in 23:59 and Pasca Cheruixot in 27:05.
2012 may go down as one of warmest mornings ever for the 5th Season 8K. A several week long Eastern Iowa heat streak did not break down the resolve of Diane Nukuri-Johnson, who ran alone as the women’s leader and smashed the long time event record with a time of 25:50. Alene Reta, running out of New York, NY. broke from the men’s pack and won in a time of 23:03.
2011 ushered in a new direction for the race with a completely new course. Prize monies were offered to all runners regardless of citizenship. The new route was widely loved by participants. An amazing 6 runners finished the 8k course in under 23:30 minutes with ideal weather. Macdonard Ondara and Samuel Ndereba battled all the way to the finish with Ondara managing a one second victory at 22:41, just 3 seconds off the event record. Former University of Iowa standout Diane Nukuri-Johnson-won going away in the women’s division with a time of 26:07.
2010 offered a change of pace as the generous prize money was for USA runners only. Abebe Yimer won in 23:53 and Tera Moody edged out last year’s winner winning in 27:08. Fittingly Abebe just became a USA citizen after living in America for 9 years. – July 4 and 25 years of the race, again was a great celebration of the USA.
2009 saw the race not only survive in the post flood era, but thrive. The brisk conditions did not slow down any finishers. 8k newcomer Simon Cheprot took the men’s crown at 22:45, a scant 7 seconds off the record time. Rachal Marchand, another new face to the 8k, lead the women at 26:18.
2008 a year no one will forget as disaster struck. Flooding throughout the downtown area weeks prior to the race forced cancellation, race officials scrambled for another race date and settled on Labor Day. The race did go on as Richard Kandie won in 23:01 and Casey Owens was the fastest women in 27:40. The race will survive, as will Cedar Rapids.
2007 was greeted with warm muggy conditions although the men’s winner Alena Reta in 22:47 was only 9 seconds off the record. Magdalene Mukunzi took the women’s crown in 26:11, the fastest time since the record was set in 1997. There were 2263 in the 8 and 5 kilometer runs combined with a new one-mile youth run and the always popular kids runs, this was the biggest Fifth Season ever.
2006 started its third decade in record fashion with over 1900 finishers and 20 men under 24 minutes. Julius Kiptoo repeated as the men’s winner in 22:45, two seconds better than second place. Tatyana Chulakh took the women’s crown in 26:38. The 4th sizzles on the roads in 2006.
2005 marked the 20th year of this Iowa classic, amazing like the 10th year it rained for only the second time in race history – this time a hard driving rain soon after most of the runners were done. Julius Kiptoo won easily in 23:03 and Atalelech Ketema topped the women narrowly winning in 26:56. The rain didn’t dampen the spirit of a record number of finishers.
2004 saw nice weather and the closest finish in history as Eric Chirchir narrowly beat Shadrack Kosgei both scoring a 22:57. Silvia Skortsova took the women’s crown in 26:29, winning by 15 seconds.
2003 spelled another warm fourth, regardless there were a record number of finishers. Simon Sawe became the first 3-time male winner winning with a 23:24 time and on the women’s side Atalelech Ketema won in 27:02.
2002 heated up quickly with 10 men in contention at mile 1 but Silvestor Moleko outdistanced the field and 2-time winner Simon Sawe winning in 23:31. Grace Moranyi took the women’s crown scoring a easy 27:41 victory with Janet Robertz (age 42) moving up a place from last year.
2001 saw Simon Sawe edge out Johanne Mabilte by 2 second winning in 23:12 on another warm 4th. Rodney DeHaven was third. On the women’s side Kris Ihle-Helledy easily won with a 27:00 as Turena Johnson-Lane was second and master’s sensation Janet Robertz was third.
2000 was a continuation the warm weather tradition as Simon Sawe narrowly edged Olympian Rodney DeHaven winning in 23:02. On the women’s side Bonnie Sons continued her winning ways with a 28:06 victory.
1999 was greeted by normal summer weather but that didn’t stop a fast field scoring some of the best times in race history. Kenneth Cherulyot won a tight race to the finish winning by 3 seconds in 22:50. On the women’s side Kris Ihle become the first 3-time winner easily defeating the field in 26:56.
1998 saw the return of legendary Bill Rodgers who just turned 50, ten years earlier he visited 5thSeason. Bill didn’t disappoint, nor did the rest of field with the closest men’s finish in history as Joahnnes Mabitle won by a second in 22:46. A repeat women’s winner, Kris Ihle, took the title with a time of 26:42. Hot, humid weather slowed the field.
1997 showed off anything but normal July 4th weather to 7 Olympians and runners from 9 countries. The start was definitely a fall like 58 degrees, ready for an assault of the record book. Kris Ihle didn’t disappoint beating the record by 2 seconds, winning in 25:55 as 6 women broke 27 minutes. On the men’s side Iowa raised Jeff Jacobs surprised everyone taking the crown easily in 22:58 leading 16 men under 25 minutes.
1996 had great weather and runners streaming by the finish. 21 men beat 25 minutes, tied with 1989 and 20 women ducked under 30 minutes, a record. Eric Polonski took the lead quickly scoring a 22:44 with James Menon at 23:01. On the women’s side Libbie Johnson was 2 seconds off the race record, finishing in 25:59. Amber Anderson at 26:46 was in second. Three 8k races this year, all Iowa master records moved Muriel Nauman to the top with a 29:38. The race seem to profit from a straight downhill finish as it neared the Cedar River.
1995 celebrated the 10th year with a light rain during the race, a first. Kenyans triumphed as John Kihonge topped Richard Bono by 5 seconds winning the men’s title with a 23:32. Salina Chirchir won the women’s race scoring a 27:01. Two runners of note Iowa great Phil Coppess won the master’s title and Warren Utes, 75, ran a 31:52. The rain eased to provide for the usual great post race activities and events for kids.
1994 was greeted with unbearable humidity but it didn’t stop the record turnout. Dan Hostager moved up to the winner’s circle finishing in 24:06 topping 7 others in the 24’s. Bonnie Sons fresh off her third Dam to Dam victory topped the women in 27:20. Tracey Dahl finished second duplicating her second in the Big Ten 10k Championship. The 5k walk was paced by over 400 strong along with over 800 children in the Kid’s races.
Heat and humidity slowed the field but a tight race for the men broke up in mile 5 as Rodney DeHaven won in 23:38 as ’90 winner Jeff Jacobs finished second 4 seconds back and Dan Hostager matched his ’92 finish with a third. The women’s victor, Karen Glerum, in her third road race won in 28:15 beating Rene Doyle-Kruse by 16 seconds and Maureen Hartzheim by 20 seconds. As in the year prior, the post race celebration filled the every corner of the park.
Janis Klecker spotlighted this year as she ran her last race prior to the Barcelona Olympics in 26:26. Nan Doak-Davis was 34 behind and Bonnie Sons, Dam to Dam winner, placed third. Glenn Morgan topped the Men’s field in 23:24, second for the second year Eric Stabb followed by 11 seconds with Dan Hostager in third. Festivies after the race in Green Square Park served almost 2500 in the pancake line with kids events everywhere.
72 degrees and low humidity at the start of this year’s race may not sound like much but it was the best weather to date for Fifth Season as compared to 1990 with temperatures in the high 80’s and humid weather plaguing the 8Kers. Scott Jenkins topped the men’s field in 23:33. Eric Stabb was 12 seconds back with Pat McCarthy in third. Janis Klecker won the women’s side in 26:55, Kathy Hadler was 25 seconds behind and Wendy Little finished third.
Jeff Jacobs, a former Clinton HS prep state champion, proved too much for the men as he scored a 23:35 topping Brett Burt by 13 seconds with Sean Wade in third. Jacobs matched Nan Doak-Davis as the only 5thSeason winners with Iowa roots. In the women’s division Shelly Steely bursted into the winner’s circle with a 26:44 beating Jean McGould by 42 seconds with Cindy James in third.
The women’s race commanded the attention this year as Nan Doak-Davis blazed to a 25:57 ahead of Janis Klecker and Diane Brewer as 13 women broke 30 minutes, one less than in 1988. The men kept it tight right to the end as 5 of them were within 7 seconds at the finish with Max Harn taking top honors in 23:01. Marc Olesen, Noel Harvey, Scott Fry and Mark Plaatjes followed.
The action really heated up this year as Keith Brantly held off a trio of Africans, Sam Obwocha-3 seconds back, Joseph Kipsang-9 seconds and Richard Kaitany-19 seconds, winning in 22:38, a course record. All 4 men ducked under 23 minutes, a 4:37 minute pace. Bill Rodgers tied a world master’s record running a 24:03. Karen Lutzke won the women’s race in 26:42 followed by Connie Prince and Suzanne Youngberg.
Fifth Season was no sleeper of a race now as out of state runners took top honors with Keith Brantly and Brenda Webb winning easily in 22:49 and 26:16 respectfully. Injured Kipsang finished 7th, Bill Rodgers 5thand Jerrold Wynia was runner up on the men’s side 25 seconds behind Brantly. Second place women, Beverly Roland- Miller, was 2 minutes and 10 seconds back of Webb.
Thirteen is not necessarily unlucky, as just that number of days had elapsed since Joseph Kipsang, former ISU runner, won Grandma’s Marathon. Kipsang had no problem winning in 23:24, Brad Little was 11 seconds behind with Doug Nelson, Phil Coppess and Brian Smith following. On the women’s side Nan Doak (now Doak-Davis) displayed her home grown ability winning in 26:47 with Connie Prince, the Dam to Dam winner that year, 29 seconds behind.
5th Season has exploded into an Iowa running tradition, quickly becoming a runner’s favorite. The 8 km race, 5 km run or walk and kids runs have grown to attract 2000 runners, making 5th Season an event for all ages.
The bursts of fireworks traditionally begin at dusk on July 4th but at 5th Season it starts early with family and friends.
by Cal Murdock