No one was going to catch Chad Ware in the Canes 5k on Sunday at PNC Arena.
For the second straight year, Ware was a runaway overall winner. The U.S Army captain, stationed at Fort Bragg, didn't know his time and seemed hardly winded after finishing well ahead of the 500 runners who turned out for the event.
"Based on the course and the shape I'm in, I'm decently pleased with it," said Ware, whose winning time was 15:42.
More than pleased with their efforts were a couple of 40somethings -- former Canes captain Rod Brind'Amour, now an assistant coach, and Tripp Tracy, a former goalie and the Canes' television analyst. Brind'Amour had a time of 19:45 and Tracy 19:55 as the two pushed each other along and were among the top finishers.
"It was a team effort," Brind'Amour said, smiling. "I don't run. I'm a bike rider. I'll be feeling it tomorrow. But you can always push through anything once."
Brind'Amour pushed a little too hard a few years ago. Running in the 2008 Pete Friesen 5k Fun Run, he doggedly kept running despite persistent knee pain. A few days later, he had knee surgery to repair torn cartilage.
"I was thinking about that coming up the stretch today," Brind'Amour said. "My knee blew up. I survived this time.
"I wanted to run. We're getting ready for training camp but my knee doesn't really matter now. So it's easier for me to participate."
Kristen Mills, 12, of Wake Forest was the top female finisher at 22:22.
A number of the Canes players were on hand and were introduced before the run, including captain Eric Staal. Training camp begins Thursday with player physicals, and the first on-ice sessions are Friday.
Doug Warf, the Canes' vice president of marketing, said the event should raise about $30,000 for the Hurricanes' Kids ‘N Community Foundation. The 5k is sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina and assisted by Raleigh Orthopaedic.
Ware, 29, was named the U.S. Army athlete of the year in 2011, when he won the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington. He recently was a part of a Fort Bragg team that won the 25th annual Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico, a 26.2-mile trek in full gear.
Ware said the Canes 5k was part of his training for the Army 10-Miler in October.
"It was nice. Nice race, well-supported and for a good cause," Ware said.