Platano, Johnson grab Pear Blossom crowns

    Heather Johnson follows up a second-place finish last year with her first victory today in the Pear Blossom Run 10-mile race.

    By Tim Trower

    Mail Tribune

    Chris Platano of Portland and Heather Johnson of Medford each won their first Pear Blossom Run men’s and women’s titles, respectively, in the 42nd running of the event in downtown Medford today.

    The 10-mile run attracted about 800 runners, and they were treated to ideal racing conditions: 42 degrees, no wind and no rain.

    Platano, racing for the third time in the event, won with a personal-best time of 52 minutes, 24.16 seconds. His previous places were second in 2016 and fifth in 2015.

    Daniel Lindstrom of Central Point was second in 56:35.65, Levi Jackson of Central Point third in 57:12.50, Jace Hinesly of Ashland fourth in 57:22.60 and Neil Olsen of Central Point fifth in 59:07.53.

    Johnson, who was runner-up to Marci Klimek last year, triumphed in 57:56.78, nearly 4 minutes faster than her 2018 time.

    Former Hidden Valley High runner Sierra Brown of Jacksonville was second in 1;00.54.65, followed by Natalie Chirgwin of Ashland (1:05:56.37), Rosa Gutierrez of San Jose, California, (1:07.:22.90) and Ellery Kaiser of Medford (1:07:49.45).

    Grants Pass’ Corey Hartgrave captured the wheelchair/handcycle 10-mile for the 11th time.

    In the 5-kilometer race, Matthew Medina of White City claimed the men’s title in 18:12.02, and Desiree Piter of Medford won the women’s event in 19:36.52.

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