After 5 kilometers, the difference between first and second place in the 39th annual Grandview Heights Great Pumpkin Run could be measured in seconds.
Zane Keppler of Worthington finished first in the Oct. 21 race with a time of 16:14.4, just edging out fellow Worthington resident George Goad, who finished in 16:21.4.
The two runners sported times that were nearly a minute less than the next-best result.
Kristin Devor of Upper Arlington won the women's division with a time of 19:52. She placed 10th among all runners.
Keppler, 20, who has competed the past two years on Kent State University's track and field team, said he appreciated the competition Goad provided.
"It's really good to have someone pushing you like that," he said. "It makes you run that much harder."
Ultimately, a runner is competing against himself, Keppler said.
"That's what I like about running in races," he said. "It's trying to do better than you did the last time."
Keppler was participating in the Pumpkin Run for the first time.
"It's a great setting for a race," he said. "People all along the route were cheering us on. That's a great feeling."
His main tactic for the race "was to just go all out for the last mile," Keppler said. "That's the time to go."
Goad, 26, said he likes the variety of the Pumpkin Run's route.
"It's downhill the first mile, then you have to start going uphill for the second mile," he said. "It's a good change of pace because it changes how your muscles are engaged."
Goad said he was using the Pumpkin Run as a "tune-up" for the Hot Chocolate Race, set Nov. 5 in downtown Columbus.
"That race is 15K, or 9 miles, so that's going to be the real challenge," he said. "I was trying to work on my minutes per mile today. I was aiming for 5:15 per mile, and I just about hit that, so I'm pretty happy with that."
Goad completed the Pumpkin Run at a rate of 5:16 per mile. Keppler's time was 5:14 per mile.
Like Keppler and Goad, Grandview Heights High School English teacher Bethany Black was participating in her first Pumpkin Run.
"It's something I've wanted to do for a while," she said. "I've never run a 5K race before, and I wanted to see if it was something I could do. I wanted to challenge myself."
Black said she wasn't sure if she was going to run after waking up the morning of the race with a bad cold.
"It made the last mile a little difficult, but I'm glad I decided to run and stuck it out," she said.
The event was a family affair, with Black's 5-year-old triplets -- Anna, Elise and Issac -- participating in the Tiny Tot Pumpkin Trot sprint held before the main race.
"That's one of the things that makes the Pumpkin Run such a great event," Black said. "It's something the whole family came do together."