Stilin, Baptista Claim Victory in Statesman Capitol 10,000

For the second year in a row, a ZAP Fitness-Reebok runner dominated the Statesman Capitol 10,000.  On Sunday morning, under cool 43-degree skies, Joe Stilin, part of the ZAP Fitness team out of Blowing Rock, NC, topped a field of some 23,275 runners—the fourth largest in the race’s history.

Joe Stilin (center) leads the 2018 Capitol 10,000 field up Congress Avenue en route to his victory.

Stilin, a former Longhorn record holder at both the mile and 3,000-meter distances caught front runner David Fuentes just before the halfway mark at the corner of Winsted Lane and Enfield Road and took the lead. Dropping Fuentes, a three-time Austin Half Marathon champ, Stilin ran the second half at a four minute and 50 second per mile pace to claim victory in 30:03. Fuentes pulled up second in 30:45, ahead of third place Ryan Miller, who clocked 31:26.

“When I was a student at Texas, I used to run up and down these same hills every day, and I thought, ‘here I am experiencing them once again,’” said Stilin, who earned a master’s in aerospace engineering at the University of Texas in the fall of 2013. “It’s great to be back,” Stilin added. “Honestly, I love it here.”

Running her first 10K ever, Rachel Baptista, a former Austin High School runner, upset two-time Capitol 10,000 champ Allison Mendez-Cleaver to win the women’s race. Baptista was only a few steps ahead of Mendez-Cleaver at the 5K mark, passed in 17:37, but widened the gap to win in 34:06. Mendez-Cleaver crossed the finish in second in 34:26, holding off a fast closing Sarah Lancaster, of Austin, who took third in 34:36.

“I like the longer distances,” said Baptista. “I haven’t raced in almost two years, so it was good to get out there and feel good, and actually run a good time.”

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