Kogo makes half marathon history
PARKERSBURG -Julius Kogo left no doubt.
The 27-year-old Kenyan became the first male to win the News and Sentinel Half Marathon four times.
Kogo, who has won for the last four years, beat the record he had set in 2010 by one second, finishing in one hour, two minutes and seven seconds.
His winning margin was a minute and 25 seconds over runner-up Aschalew Mekete Neguse, a 25-year-old Ethiopian who was clocked in 1:03:32.
Participants in the 27th annual race awoke to a crisp and clear morning that made for ideal conditions.
In the women’s half marathon, Ethiopian runners took the top three spots with 25-year-old Konjit Birk winning in 1:14:26. A pair of 26-year-olds were second and third with Almaz Negede Fekade the runnerup in 1:15:51 and Waynishet Abeeb third in 1:17:37.
Top American finishers in the half marathon were 27-year-old Patrick Cheptoek of Bowling Green, Ky. (1:05:34) and 26-year-old Aubrey Maskal of Morgantown, W.Va. (1:17:45.6), who placed fourth overall behind the three Ethopian women.
In the Two Mile Race, the six-year reign of Warren High School and Ohio University graduate Tyler Cantley came to an end as he finished second to 17-year-old Matthew Brafford, a senior at George Washington High School in Charleston. Brafford, the top-ranked high school cross country runner in West Virginia, was clocked in 9 minutes, 43 seconds, four seconds off the course record set by Cantley in 2010. Cantley crossed the finish line on Saturday in 10:06.
Brafford’s win ended a 12-year streak of Warren High School graduates claiming the Two Mile Race as Jason Linton won six times before Cantley equalled his feat.
Stacy Hall, of Henderson, Nev., was the female champion of the Two Mile Race, finishing in 12:28. Rachel Morris, of Parkersburg, like Hall a 17-year-old, was second in 12:51 and 15-year-old Nicole Dent, of Vienna, was third in 12:58.
The most unusual story of the day took place in the half marathon walk competitions as 55-year-old Dominick Rubertino of Mentor, Ohio, won the men’s title, and his wife, 54-year-old Marge, captured the women’s crown. The couple has been married 34 years. Dominick never had won a race in his career and didn’t know he had won until being approached by a reporter.
Complete details, results and photographs are appearing in an eight-page special race section in today’s News and Sentinel.