WHEELING — If she were to plan out her perfect race, Charleston’s Maria Busienei would prefer to have a couple runners with her throughout the course. But just because it didn’t go according to plan doesn’t mean she’s willing to give back her victory.
Busienei broke away from the pack and broke the tape Saturday in 1:18:11, or three minutes faster than her nearest competition, to capture the 34th annual Ogden 20K Classic women’s title.
‘‘Last year I had two men and two women beside me,’’ Busienei said of a race in which she finished third. ‘‘Usually it’s nice when you’re running with another woman and they push you, but (Saturday) it was different.’’
A lot of times runners unfamiliar with the course are in for the surprise of their career once they figure out the hilly terrain that has become legendary. Not only was Busienei already familiar with this particular course, but she welcomes such challenges.
‘‘It’s OK because I train in Charleston,’’ the native of Africa said. ‘‘This is the biggest race I’ve run this year.
Anna Beck made a fine showing for herself, as well. The 25-year-old Washington, Pa., resident checked in with a second-place finish, ending with a time of 1:21:00.39. Laura Berry, 23, of Avella, Pa., was third at 1:24:09.25, while Julie Brunner, 41, of Mechanicsburg, Pa. (1:25:06.27), and Sherry Borsos, 19, of Adena (1:28:57.39) rounded out the top 5.
Busienei, 24, finished 27th overall in last year’s Debbie Green 5K, and won the women’s portion of the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure West Virginia on May 1, finishing second overall.
All told, she said this was the fourth such race she has run this year. Not bad for someone who has only been doing this competitively for less than nine full years.
Fact Box‘‘Usually it’s nice when you’re running with another woman and they push you, but (Saturday) it was