By Grant Egger – [email protected]
The second GOATz (Greater Omaha Area Trail Runners) event at Black Elk-Neihardt Park has grown in popularity since the first.
About 90 runners signed up for the Hilly Goat Half-Marathon, 10k and 5k races Saturday morning in Blair. That’s about 30 more than those who registered or participated in 2021, said GOATz President Ron Ruhs.
The runners – including several local and Omaha-area athletes, but also at least one from as far away as Brazil – ran three laps (half marathon), two laps (10K) or one lap (5K) on the hilly terrain of Blair Park. The finish line was at the top of the long cobblestone hill on the east side of the recreation area.
Bellevue’s Jason Downing won the half marathon in 1:43:22, while Omaha’s Crystal Kmoch was second in 1:59.56. Blair’s Dennis Garrett also finished ninth.
Omaha runner Craig Halverson won the 10k in 43:20, while Papillion’s Miranda Davis was the first woman to finish fifth overall. Blair’s Bobbie Ruhs finished 12th.
The 5K, meanwhile, went to 13-year-old Taia Green of Omaha in 26:25. Blair’s cross country coach Carson Norine also finished fifth.
A year ago, the GOATz — a non-profit organization — donated about $1,000 to Black Elk-Neihardt Park, according to Blair resident Ron Ruhs. He also donated $2,500 to the Otte Blair Middle School running club through its GOATz XC Grantz program.
Black Elk-Neihardt Park will then host the first races of the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League season on August 27-28. Pre-races for the On Your Mark event at Black Elk Park will take place on August 27 before the official mountain bike race on August 28.