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30th running of Carlsbad 5000

Carlsbad 5000

When: 7 a.m. Sunday

What: 30th running of race that's billed as World's Fastest 5K. Sixteen world records have been set at Carlsbad. Deena Kastor, 42, will be chasing the women's masters world record of 15 minutes, 48 seconds, set by Colleen De Reuck in 2004.


The Carlsbad 5000 celebrates its 30th running Sunday. Nine runners have sprinted down the Carlsbad Village Drive finishing stretch for each of the 29 previous races.

Even among the Nifty Nine, one stands out.

Skip DeYoung is the only one who has never lived in San Diego County. The 68-year-old photographer lives in Woodland Hills. Before that it was Encino.

And for 30 years DeYoung has celebrated spring's arrival by pointing his car south toward Carlsbad. A former marathoner, DeYoung was told about the race by his mother-in-law, who lives in Carlsbad.

"It's a short race," said DeYoung, explaining his draw to the event. "My in-laws live one mile away. I walk to the start. And the weather's ideal all the time."

DeYoung is as much a part of the Carlsbad 5000 as the beer garden, Mar Dels band and Africans setting world records.

He was there for the inaugural 1986 event when everyone huddled early in the morning for one mass start. The event now features seven races and, including the Junior Carlsbad for youths, stretches across two days.

He was there the year a hail storm struck during a women's race, creating a wet T-shirt contest. He was there in 2000 when Sammy Kipketer sped to a 3:59 first mile and loped home in 13 minutes flat, breaking the world record by 12 seconds.

Former American mile record holder and current Cal State San Marcos track and cross country coach Steve Scott won the first three Carlsbad 5000 races. African men are working on a 15-year winning streak.

Deena Kastor shares part of the Carlsbad 5000 lore. The 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist set the world record at Carlsbad in 2002, running 14:54.

Said DeYoung, "It's just a fun, fast race."

As impressive as DeYoung's streak is at Carlsbad, it's not his most jaw-dropping running feat. Inspired by a friend who had run every day for two years, DeYoung stepped outside on Nov. 8, 1996, his 50th birthday, and jogged two miles.

He hasn't missed a day since, the streak approaching 18? years. For the streak to be recognized by the U.S. Running Streak Association, a person must run at least one mile every day. DeYoung's daily habit measures two miles.

He has kept the streak alive in Anchorage, Alaska, amid rain storms, has been chased by dogs, nearly hit by wayward drivers.

"If you're sick or injured," said DeYoung, "you just run slow."

The running streak workout vests is nearly as fascinating as DeYoung's day job as a photographer for Life Touch Photography, which shoots school pictures.

He has fitness seen children throw up on the risers. Some of the youngest of students, nerves impacting their bladders, didn't reach the restroom in time.

"You just deal with it," said DeYoung, "and call the custodian."