Matt Jones has had a strong running companion for two of the last three years at the Brady Street Sprints.
Jones and Zach Digney have either won or placed in the top-3 since they started competing against each other.
In two weeks, Jones won't be seeing Digney at the starting line.
The cross country and track coach at Loras College won the Men's 30-39 division Thursday on Pershing Avenue in the second and final qualifier for the final on July 27.
"I told myself that I wasn't going to push that hard if there were less than five people," Jones said. "Competitive juices kicked in and as soon as they said go, overall pretty happy."
Digney, a former Iowa track athlete and last year's 30-39 champion, texted Jones saying he won't be running this year now that he is in Colorado.
Even without Digney, Jones doesn't want to take the seven automatic qualifiers lightly.
"I don't know anything about these runners, nothing is given," he said. "Just have to show up in two weeks and run hard."
Two defending women's title holders punched their tickets to the final.
Kathy Evanchyk got past Amy Thomas in the Women's Masters and Alli Wroblewski outlasted AG Bradford and Addie Swanson in the Women's Open race.
"We took a nice jog up the hill and turn it up at the end," Evanchyk said. "We've never run (Pershing) before."
Swanson has ran the relay portion of the sprints for the past couple of years. It'll be her first time running it individually.
After the USATF Junior National meet in California, the Pleasant Valley grad took two weeks off before starting college training for Iowa.
Her training started three days ago.
"My body is in real shock," said Swanson, who will be on the cross country roster for the Hawkeyes, but will run only one or two meets. "I'm really just doing it for fun. I'd be lying if I thought for a second about my strategy."
With half the road completely unpaved on Brady Street, the clock is ticking on whether it will be ready to go for the finals.
Ron Egger isn't worried.
"The city said it's going to be done, we're hoping it's going to be done," Egger said. "We're going to be good to go."
If the street isn't 100 percent ready, Egger and his team have a plan in place.
"We can still use Brady Street, just run it (all races) in two heats," he said.