With hundreds of onlookers tightly huddled around the finish line at St. Peter's Square, Peter Asaro and Andrew Ryan gave the fans an exciting finish.
As the two runners came sprinting down the end of Rogers Street, there wasn't another runner in plain sight. Running neck and neck in the metal confines of the finish line, Asaro barely snagged the win with an impressive time of 15:56. Just three seconds separated the two, as Ryan crossed with a time of 15:59.
The pace Asaro and Ryan set was remarkable, as the next contestant didn't finish line until a minute later when Matthew Curran finished at 17:00.
With the way the race started, it looked as if the results were going to be reversed. With Ryan jumping out to a fast start, Asaro thought it was going to be Ryan's to win.
"Andrew really took off right from the gun," Asaro said. "I honestly just thought it was his race to win because he's been so close the past few years and I just figured this was his year to win."
Having been teammates on the Gloucester High School cross country team and attending the College of William and Mary together, Ryan knew first-hand of Asaro's running prowess. Knowing this, he tried to get as much separation as possible from the get-go.
"I knew Pete could definitely out kick me," Ryan said. "I went as fast as I could to try and get as far away from his as possible."
The plan was well-executed until Ryan caught a cramp near the State Fish Pier.
"Towards the fish pier I stitched up," he said. "I knew it was only a matter of time before he was going to start reeling me in. I tried to keep it going, but it was tough. I tried to surge at the end, but it was too late."
Setting an equally impressive time was female winner Monica Adler from Manchester. Her 17:05 time was good for 6th overall and was close to a minute and a half better than the familiar face of 2nd place finisher Regina Loiacano, who crossed at 18:28.
A track runner at Boston University, the 20 year old Adler was in prime shape to compete.
"I've been looking forward to running it for a while," Adler said. "I just finished track season so I've been doing a little bit of racing over the summer to keep it going for the fall."
During her spring season at BU, Adler ran the 1500 meter, but a disappointing season in her eyes gave her extra motivation to train harder this summer.
"It was a bit of frustrating season," she said. "I was a half-second from going to nationals and two seconds from the Olympic trials so I wanted to build up my training and come back stronger in the fall."
Not everyone who runs the Fiesta 5K is a track star or avid runner. On the contrary, a lot of the runners enjoy the aspect of sprinting in front of familiar faces or running for the sake of accomplishment. Take Dylan Ellis for example.
Ellis, a former baseball standout at Gloucester High School and Merrimack College picked the Fiesta 5K to be his first ever competitive race. A spur of the moment decision, he decided to set a goal for himself.
"I would go to work everyday and come home, but I wouldn't do much afterwards," Ellis said. "It was time for me to challenge myself and I had never ran a race before, so I set a goal for myself to do it."
Even though the times of those who run the even for leisure weren't close to the pace of Asaro and Ryan, the feeling of accomplishment for some is just as fulfilling as winning the event.