After the mass start there is a lot of self-sorting to find the speed and company one wants to informally team up with for the initial part of the race. Each participant tends to find a comfort level and pair up or form a pack based on other surrounding athletes, or a strategic plan for winning or placing in the money. There will be alliances and packs formed for convenience and opportunity. It's predicted to be a very hot day, particularly for the non-elite athletes who will be in the 50K and racing well into the afternoon when temperatures will reach their highest. All shorter races will finish in the morning. The elite men will finish around noon. The rest will have to fend for themselves, oftentimes in hero-istic solo efforts. It's going to be an interesting day for athletes, support crews, spectators, judges, lap scorers and other race personnel.
Top foreign athletes, from left, include Caio Bonfim (11, Brazil, 50K), Samir Cesar Sabadin (25, Brazil, 50K), Jose-Luis Ayala-Altamirano (42, Mexico, 10K) and Eder Sanchez (16, Mexico, 50K)) along with U.S. hopeful Nick Christie (12, 50K).
Just behind Bonfim (11) are USA Olympians John Nunn (1) and Trevor Barron (45).
Close to Barron are Olympian Rachel Seaman (37, Canada) and Katie Burnett (31, USA).
In first lap Anthony Peters (29) leads Luis Felipe Dos Santos (27) and pack of 20K women with Nick Christie (12).
Lead pack of men going into 2nd lap - Sanchez, Bonfim, Nunn and Barron - a four-some early alliance.
Lead pack of women - Seaman, Miranda Melville (35), Mariela Sanchez (24, Mexico), Burnett, Robyn Stevens (46) along with Christie.
Second pack of men and others - Dave Talcott (18), Raymond Sharp (6), Steven Washburn (19), Matthew Forgues (13), Dave McGovern (4), veteran Jonathan Matthews (15) and Pablo Gomez (2).
Matthews is paired with McGovern.
Gomez is determined to finish, even though he is wearing black on a day that is heating up. He had to drop out of the December 50K Nationals on this course. Is he cool enough to finish?
50K women's champion, Erin Taylor-Talcott, is a steady performer; she looks mighty fit and ready to set a new world record. Adrian Zamudio (3) is doing the 20K.
Pre-teen Sebasian Garcia-Kornhauser (107, Mexico) is doing the 5K and Steve Harper (8) is attempting the 50K.
Co-race leaders Mario-Andres De Los Rios-Banda (44, Mexico) and Racz, 10K and 20K respectively, are doing sub-7 minute miles thus far.
This pack of four (from left, Barron, Bonfim, Nunn and Sanchez) is staying together and sharing the work, as USA and foreigner pairs.