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St. Thomas runner Steven LaPlace took first place in the 2012 St. Thomas Association of Roadrunners' Kwanzaa Run on Sunday.

LaPlace ran the seven-kilometer course (4.35 miles) in 34 minutes and 44 seconds for a comfortable win over Peter Bodri (36:23) and Jody Nelson (37:02).

Nelson was the top female finisher, beating Bryson Spangler by just two seconds.

Making up an irregular distance for road races, each of the kilometers represented one of the seven Kwanzaa principles. Nia, meaning purpose, was the principle observed Sunday.

Nelson, who is training for the Boston Marathon in April, was ahead of the entire field for much of the race. Caitlin Potratz (41:24) and local favorite Simone Francis (42:06) rounded out the top three in the women's field.

Antilles School graduate Andrew Casazza, a student at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., won the 2-mile race in 17:40. D'Ajahni Estrada-Petersen finished in 18:03 in a tough battle for second place. Visiting marathoner Neil Hetherington finished third in 18:07. No women competed in the 2-mile race.

STAR's next two events are the Martin Luther King Jr. 5K at 7:15 a.m. on Jan. 13, and the 30th annual Women's Jogger Jam at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 27. For more information, call 777-3959 or 775-6373 or email torawatlington@earthlink.net.

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