May 4—It can be argued that soccer players make good runners, and Brandon Armendariz provided an example of that hypothesis.
The 24-year-old Peggs native ran away from the rest of the 47-runner field in the Claremore Hope Race 5K on Saturday morning at Claremore Lake Park, gapping second-place finisher Joseph Wilmoth by nearly three minutes with a time of 19 minutes, 55 seconds. Wilmoth, 15, finished in 22:51.
"I just picked a pace and pushed myself as much as I could," Armendariz said.
Cannon Walker of Inola (23:11), Kevin Green of Skiatook (23:21) and Joel Parker of Pryor (23:38) rounded out the top five for the 3.11-mile race.
Armendariz, who plays rec-league soccer in Tulsa, said all the miles he logs on the pitch helped him build the fitness necessary to complete the race at a rate of 6:24 per mile. His 5K personal best is 19:05.
"I play soccer all the time and run for fun," said Armendariz, who ran his first 5K when he was 18. "I usually play soccer on Sunday, but that can be up to 20 miles just playing soccer. Sometimes I'll run Tuesday and Thursday, and I'll also lift weights on Wednesday and Friday."
Armendariz competes semi-regularly in virtual 5K races in the Tahlequah area, but he credited his sisters-in-law, Ezriyah Armendariz and Yophiyyah Fish, for inviting him to run in an in-person event.
Ezriyah Armendariz and Fish ran the 10K, tying for second place of 22 runners with times of 47:18.
Brandon Armendariz said if not for the four soccer games he planned to play Sunday, he would've considered running the 6.22-mile course with his family.
"I just didn't want to run a 10K," he said. "Right now, I'm just sticking to 5Ks. We'll see, I might end up doing the 10K if I get an opportunity."
The Claremore Hope Race was organized and hosted by the Claremore High School National Honor Society, and all proceeds went toward a $4,000 technology grant to the school's teachers.
The event has helped the organization raise more than $10,000 since its inception in 2015.
"It has been a very exciting experience knowing that we are closely working with the community while also positively impacting our school," Claremore NHS President Kate Bustamante said in a press release.