Yasin Sado took big, powerful strides down the backstretch. His eyes were caste downwards on the light blue track at Mullen while his bright orange singlet and matching shorts contrasted against the iconic hue - there aren't many blue tracks in Colorado...
Even with 14:48 5ker and cross country All-American Austin Vancil and trademark fro freshly trimmed down a few inches running in his shadow, Sado's intentions were clearly in front of him.
The Denver West junior cruised through the halfway point of the 1,600 in 2:09 with Vancil still in tow, and Connor Ohlson a few strides back, but it was clear this would be a front-running affair, and a fast one.
Cole Sprout tore around the track for the third time with Carter Dillon hot on his heels. Excuse me, I mean Sado tore around the track for the third time, and Vancil was hot on his heels...
Sado continued to pour on the pace as the field began to stretch out behind him. Vancil was the only challenger to respond to the ever-increasing level of pain as the two milers entered the realm of the event where only a few survive: The Third Lap.
With 600 to go it was obvious we had a race on our hands.
Sprout, I mean Sado, pumped hard while Dillon, I mean Vancil, appeared to be bidding his time for an attack of his own.
As the two entered the final lap Vancil inched upwards onto Sado's shoulder in an effort to throw down a furious kick, but Sado battled back to keep his space on the inside lane.
The Denver West junior pumped like a prizefighter while Vancil regrouped. Down the backstretch Vancil inched up on to Sado's shoulder once more, preparing for yet another strike.
200 to go and Dillon, I mean Vancil, attacked on the outside as the crowd was feeling the intensity from the effort on the track, and once again the Dakota Ridge senior was rebuffed.
Sprout, I mean Sado, clung hard to the inside lane, forcing Vancil outside as they entered the final straightaway. The two battled with nothing but open blue trackscape in front of them, but Sado was clawing to maintain his foot-or-two advantage over Vancil.
With 50 meters to go Vancil surged once more, and once more Sado had a response. With 30 meters to go Vancil threw another move, and Sado responded. 10 meters to go and Vancil leaned for every inch, but Sado had the final say, or the final lean, as he crossed the line in a dizzying 4:16.24 to Vancil's 4:16.49.
If you think you've read this story before, it's likely because you did.
Spectators in the stands and on the Live Stream had to be experiencing a sense of déjà vu, because the Sado and Vancil battle to the line was nearly identical to the Sprout and Dillon battle last year.
Move for move, the race was eerily similar, and produced the same result.
It was yet another big performance from Sado, who is proving with each race that he's got the legs to go the distance.
For Vancil that age-old remark about cutting ones hair for additional speed proved to be somewhat accurate - it was a three-second personal best, but the second place finish came with it.
As epic as the race was, it was one of many at the 23rd edition of the Mullen Invitational. Despite Arcadia and those downhill tracks in California taking some of Colorado's talent out of state, that blue track at Mullen brought some red hot performances, and I'm not evening talking about Loren Ahonen's live steam commentary.
In addition to the heat on the track, Colorado's front range saw perhaps the first ideal Saturday for track and field. The sun was out, and for the first time this season, it wasn't windy, or cold.