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Race is 'Badge of Courage' for Masters Divison Winner

May 28, 2011
WHEELING -- As a child in grade school, Mariann Tullius said her lack of athleticism and coordination caused her to be picked last in gym class, time and again.

Saturday, she won the 50-and-older Division of the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, finishing the race in one hour, 48 minutes and 18 seconds.

Tullius, 51, of Wexford, Pa. has been traveling to Wheeling to participate in the Memorial Day weekend race since 1998, often joined by her training partner, Bob Gracie.

Gracie, of Pittsburgh, finished first among male racers ages 60-64. He said the race is a requisite on a runner's resume.

Tullius agreed, noting that many of her running friends choose not to participate because of the course's steep elevation changes.

"It's a badge of courage," Tullius said of the Ogden Half Marathon, which features two major climbs with 8 to 10 percent grades. "We have a lot of friends that have never run it because it's too hard. We come down and conquer our fears."

Tullius was a member of the track team during her high school years, but admitted she never excelled. She tied her race shoes back on in her 30s and started running competitively in 1995.

While her race time was not one of her best, Tullius said she enjoyed the day's events and is looking forward to returning next year.

"Most of all, we had fun," she said. "It was a good day. We'll see everyone next year."

In the men's 50-and-older category, John Brokenbrough, 52, of Murraysville, Pa., claimed top honors with his finish of 1:29.08. Brokenbrough trains with race winner and Wheeling native Colin Gundling.


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