WHEELING -- Already owning a victory this year in the Indianapolis Half Marathon and a second-place finish at the Louisville Half Marathon, Lilian Mariita is used to performing well in these events. But Mariita had never seen anything like the course she ran Saturday at the 36th Annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic.
No matter, though. The runner out of Hebron, Ky., crossed the finish line in 1:23:51.15 to win the women's portion of the event, which was contested under extremely muggy conditions.
The race was run at a faster pace than last year, when Charleston's Maria Busienei finished 10th overall with a time of 1:26:56. Conversely, Mariita came in 13th despite finishing more than 3 minutes ahead of the 2011 winner.
Photo by Andy Lloyd
Lilian Mariita of Hebron, Ky., was the first woman to finish Saturday's 36th annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic Run.
In fact, the combination of the course and the heat took a noticeable toll on Mariita, 24, who immediately took off her shoes, sat down in the shade and was covered in towels from head to toe while enjoying some well-earned refreshments.
"The course is so hard - so hilly," Mariita said through an interpreter. "I was running this race for the first time and am so tired."
That's understandable considering she immediately took the lead and did not relinquish it. Washington, D.C., runner Tezata Denersa, 31, continually hung around though, and ultimately finished second with a time of 1:24:26.49.
"For this weather, maybe it's OK," Mariita said of running alone. "I think I didn't need to push because it would be so hot."
Washington, Pa., resident Anna Beck, 27, came home third while Tiringo Shiferw, 27, another Washington, D.C., entrant, and Emily Chaney, 30, of Huntington, rounded out the Top-5.
On the local front, Dr. Mary Kreis, 42, of Shadyside, was the top finisher in 1:38:02.10. That time was good for 46th overall.
"It is so hot," Mariita said. "It was really difficult to run this race.
"It's a special course. Not everybody can do the course very well."
Despite the obvious pitfalls of going all out, simply taking is easy and letting the chips fall where they may was never a consideration for Mariita.
"Every race I want to win," she said. "Every elite runner, she wants to win the race.
"(Today) I was lucky, I think."