There was a lot of energy at the start. And I saw some old friends I haven't seen in awhile, which always makes it fun. I felt like the course was very well-marked, and it was just fantastic. —Morgan Haws
SALT LAKE CITY — What do Miles Batty and Morgan Haws have in common?
Both of them are outstanding distance runners who are homegrown Utah natives; they're both 26 years old; they both served missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and they both were formerly standout performers for Brigham Young University.
Oh, and one more thing. On Wednesday, they both won their respective men's and women's 10K races in the annual Deseret News Classic.
Batty, a former Jordan High School track and cross-country standout who now lives and trains in Park City, ran away from the men's field of more than 500 runners with a time of 28 minutes, 41.8 seconds. Westminster College cross-country and track coach Patrick Smyth of Salt Lake City was second in 29:13.1, and John Coyle of Logan placed third in 29:26.5.
Haws, a former Davis High School runner who was an all-conference performer for Weber State before finishing up her stellar collegiate career at BYU, had the top women's 10K time of 34:06.1, while Ogden High School senior-to-be and state 1,600 meters record-holder Sarah Feeny finished second in 34:29.2. Former Weber State All-American distance runner Sariah Long of South Ogden was third in 34:53.2.
Batty won the Deseret News Classic 10K in 2006 at the age of 19, just before he left to serve an LDS mission to Brazil, but he hadn't entered the annual race since 2010.
However, after graduating from BYU about a year ago and signing a contract to run track professionally, his schedule allowed him to take to the streets of Salt Lake City for the 2013 D-News race. And he was certainly glad he did after taking home the $1,000 first-place 10K prize.
"I used to do it every year, but it's been awhile," he said of his previous experience in the Pioneer Day road race. "It's always been fun. In high school, it was kind of a family tradition for me to run and the family to come out and watch. And we've always enjoyed it. So this year, they talked me into doing it and I figured it would work well with my training leading into some more track races.
"It just worked out with my schedule this year. I've had some other things going on, and I was planning on being in Europe right now for some track races. But I ended up putting that off until August, so I'll be going to Europe in about a month."
Batty was a two-time NCAA champion, six-time All-American, Academic All-American and national record-holder in the indoor mile while at BYU, where his specialty was the mile and 1,500 meters — the event that he hopes to qualify for in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, the country where he served his mission.
But that 1,500-meter distance is considerably shorter than the 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) that he ran Wednesday.
"This is the longest race I've run in almost three years," said Batty, who was greeted near the finish line by his wife, Danika, and their dog, Shiloh. "But it felt all right. ... I was talking with coach (Ed) Eyestone at BYU and he was telling me not to take it too hard and try to use it within my training, rather than overexerting myself and setting me back a little bit in training. So I think it served its purpose. We put a good pace in and it felt pretty good.
"They make you get up so early (for the race) that you hope it's not too hot. It felt great with the temperature, and it was great having all the people out there (cheering) as well."
Batty broke away from Smyth about 3 miles into Wednesday's race and didn't ever look back.
"I ran against him a lot in college and even in high school," Batty said of Smyth. "He runs mostly recreationally now and I didn't really know what kind of shape he'd be in, and we were just running together for quite awhile. I probably broke away a little bit around 3 miles in, a lot earlier than I expected. But I just kind of rolled with it and then just tried to keep a good steady pace from there on out and make sure I wasn't getting caught at the end."
And with the sizable lead Batty had built up coming down the home stretch on 9th South, there was no need to worry about that.
The same held true for Haws, who cruised into the finish-line area adjacent to Liberty Park with a substantial lead over rest of the women's field, which featured 645 finishers. And she was all smiles following her victory.
"It was fantastic," she beamed. "There was a lot of energy at the start. And I saw some old friends I haven't seen in awhile, which always makes it fun. I felt like the course was very well-marked, and it was just fantastic.
"The last time I ran here was in 2008, so it has been awhile. I went on a mission (to Fresno, Calif.) and then I was in college for those five years, so now I'm out of college and decided it was time to run in it again. I'm kind of excited to win such a big race. I've been in the top 10, but never won here before. And I'm really happy with my time."
Haws, who got her bachelor's degree in history from BYU in 2012, is planning to begin her masters program in the fall with the career goal of becoming a teacher for junior high school-age students.
"I think that would be really fun," she said of teaching, "maybe math or history — or both."
Yep, almost as much fun as winning the Deseret News Classic 10K.
Top ten 10K female finishers
1. Morgan Haws (26) Kaysville, 34.06.1
2. Sarah Feeny (17) Ogden, 34:29.2
3. Sariah Long (27) South Ogden, 34:53.2
4. Rosy Lee (37) Mountain Green, 34:58.3
5. Devra Vierkant (37) Sandy, 35:33.5
6. Melody Jenson (33) Orem, 35:40.8
7. Merrilee Blackham (35) Ogden, 35:52.51 comment on this story
8. Jackie Heaps (17) Lehi, 36:24.3
9. Amber Andrews (27) Provo, 36:52.9
10. Marlee Mitchell (16) South Jordan, 37:01.3
Top ten 10K male finishers
1. Miles Batty (26) Park City, 28:41.8
2. Patrick Smyth (26) Salt Lake City, 29:13.1
3. John Coyle (22) Logan, 29:26.5
4. Joshua McCabe (26) Orem, 29:44.2
5. Jake Krong (29) Salt Lake City, 29:45.3
6. Brad Osguthorpe (29) Heber, 29:49.6
7. Bryant Jensen (29) Ogden, 29:56.9
8. Seth Pilkington (30) Clinton, 30:21.0
9. Jason Holt (27) Kaysville, 30:45.3
10. Jason Nance (25) Centerville, 30:55.0