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November 29, 2013

Bradford's Fullerton shatters mark for Feaster 5K

In 5-mile race, Sanca bests defending champ Jenkins, Kasper wins first

ANDOVER — Pat Fullerton of Bradford sounded like a guy who didn’t meet his goals yesterday in downtown Andover.

Fullerton, 25, sounded more like a guy who lost, complaining about the cold and wind, which were in full force.

“Oh, my God, was it cold,” said Fullerton, who runs for New Balance. “It was hard to get my hands warm. It was brutal.”

But Fullerton smashed the Feaster Five 5K course record, finishing in 15:08, a 4:53-per-mile pace, to win for the second straight year, crushing Harry Norton’s old mark of 15:40 set in 2007. A year ago, he just missed the mark at 15:46.

Fullerton took off less than 200 yards after the start and never was challenged.

Connor Habib, 20, of Hampton, N.H. finished second at 16:56, and Joshua Accomando, 28, of Coronado, Calif., was third at 17:08.

In what was the race of day, the 5-mile event, two racing stars battled evenly until the last quarter-mile up York Street with Ruben Sanca of Lowell and five-time champ Nate Jenkins going head-to-head.

The 26-year-old Sanca, who runs for Whirlaway Racing of Methuen, broke away from Jenkins of North Andover near the finish to win by 5 seconds at 24:19. The duo was just off the record of 24:06 set in 1999.

Sanca competed in the 2012 Olympics in the 5,000-meter run, representing his native Cape Verde.

“I tried a few times to break away, but I couldn’t. He was too strong,” said Jenkins, 33. “A few times I thought I was ahead of him and I heard, ‘Come on you guys!’ I was thinking, ‘Oh man!’ I knew he was close.”

Sanca and Jenkins have met many times before.

“Matt is always a tough challenge,” said Sanca, who was a star racer for UMass Lowell. “He’s a strong runner. He’s tough. I felt pretty good and was lucky to get away.”

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