VALPARAISO | Neither a sore throat nor a simultaneous obligation could hold Adam Piaskowy back on Saturday morning.
The 26-year-old from Valparaiso may have had a lot on his plate this weekend, but for just more than 16 minutes, no one in Valpo was faster. Piaskowy, with a time of 16:26, finished first overall out of more than 1,000 participants in the annual "Ringing in Spring" 5K race.
It was Piaskowy's second straight win in the event, though he still lags well behind women's winner Karen Nagel, who won her seventh straight "Ringing in Spring" by finishing in 18:16.
Piaskowy also serves as an assistant track coach at Valparaiso University, and had to forgo a meet on Saturday to race.
"I haven't run since the beginning of the week," Piaskowy said. "But I'm on the 'Ringing in Spring' committee and I wanted to do it. I went to bed early last night to try to get over (his cold). I wasn't really sure what to expect out there, but it ended up playing out real well."
Piaskowy's time was 11 seconds better than his winning time from a year ago.
This year's race was the first in the 15-year history of the event to begin at the new Valparaiso YMCA, set to open in early May.
"If this was any other race, I wouldn't have done it," Piaskowy said. "I just wanted to support it."
Women's champion Nagel was eight seconds off her pace from a year ago, when she set an personal record in the event by finishing in 18:08.
"I think the course overall was more challenging," Nagel said. "Between the first and second miles, there were a lot more steeper hills than there were on the old course."
Chesterton's Nagel won with plenty of time to spare, finishing 37 seconds ahead of women's runner-up Megan Ranegar (18:53), who is a senior track and cross country standout at Valparaiso High School.
"Having her there pushed me even more," Nagel said. "I knew she was somewhere back there, but I didn't know where she was."
Nagel said that the recent brutal winter made training for the event a challenge, but she invested in a pair of YakTrax brand shoe covers for increased traction.
"It's awesome to be able to win it seven times in a row," Nagel said. "I consider this one of the premier races in the area."