PARKERSBURG -Perfect weather.
More than 1,700 finishers.
A trio of three-time champions.
Alene Reta of Ethiopia etched his named into News and Sentinel Half Marathon history Saturday morning when he became only the second runner to win his third half marathon championship and the first to win the race three consecutive years.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Those were the highlights of Saturday's News and Sentinel Half Marathon and 2-Mile race.
With overcast skies and the temperature hovering around 70 degrees, Alene Reta of Ethiopia etched his named into half marathon history Saturday morning when he became only the second runner to win his third half marathon championship and the first to win the race three consecutive years.
The 27-year-old Reta claimed the $3,000 first prize with a winning time of one hour, 4 minutes and 15 seconds, winning the race by a margin of a minute and 14 seconds over runnerup Kennett Kiptoo of Kenya. Reta joins Godfrey Kiprotich of Kenya as the only three-time winners of the race. Kiprotich won in 1992, 1994 and 1995.
With Ethiopians and Kenyans claiming the first six places, the United States national championship awarded by the Road Runner Club of America went to seventh place finisher Steven Crane of Arlington, Va., who finished in one hour, 8 minutes and 41 seconds to win his second straight American title.
A Kenyan, 27-year-old Hellen Jemutai, won the women's championship, in a time of one hour, 15 minutes and 57 seconds, beating 24-year-old Divina Jepkogei, also of Kenya, to the tape by one second.
Phebe Ko from Baltimore, Md. finished fifth overall and claimed the U.S. national championship.
Claiming his second straight half marathon walk championship was 57-year-old Don Slusser of Monroeville, Pa., who completed the 13.1-mile course in two hours, 13 minutes and 20 seconds, more than 12 minutes ahead of runner-up Tim Finkel of Marietta. Slusser also won the race in 2005.
Also repeating as the walk champion was women's titlist Kathy Ervin of Quaker City, Ohio. the 42-year-old finished in 2:20:15. Jennifer White of Parkersburg was second and Tena Harper of Belpre placed third.
Competing in Parkersburg for the first time, 27-year-old Ben Hulin of South Bend, Ind., won the wheelchair division, finishing in 1 hour, 14 minutes and 54 seconds. For the first time since 2000, the wheelchair division had a female competitor. Sherry Dawson, a 43-year-old resident of Charleston, finished in 1 hour, 30 minutes and five seconds.
Former Warren High School standout Tyler Cantley, who now runs for Ohio University, claimed his third consecutive 2-Mile run championship. Cantley broke the 10-minute barrier for the first time on Saturday, completing the course in 9 minutes and 54 seconds, exactly one minute ahead of runner-up Aaron Estep of Sistersville.
The 2-Mile female championship went to 14-year-old Sami Harris of Charleston, who finished in 12 minutes and nine seconds. Cindy Martinsen of Williamstown, who spotted Harris 30 years in age, was the runner-up in 12:53.
The fastest finisher in the2-mile walk was female champion Donna Graham, a 59-year-old resident of Lowell, Ohio, who finished in 19 minutes and 48 seconds to win for the third straight year. That was 10 seconds before 43-year-old Richard Shea of Marietta broke the tape to claim the male championship.
The 2-Mile witnessed a record 743 finishers while the half marathon saw 986 competitors cross the finish line.