PARKERSBURG - Four course records fell on Saturday at the 24th annual News and Sentinel Half Marathon and Two Mile Race.
Saying he had some unfinished business in Parkersburg, 25-year-old Julius Kogo of Kenya blistered the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 8.78 seconds to win the $3,000 first prize.
Julius Kogo eclipsed the course record previously held by Steve Kogo of Kenya in 1990 (1:02:25).
Start of Half Marathon
The Kogos aren't related. In fact, Julius Kogo said he didn't know Steve Kogo, who won here in 1989 and 1990. Julius Kogo had run here a year ago but lost any chance he had to win the race when he took a wrong turn on the course.
Julius Kogo dominated Saturday's race as runner-up Reid Coolsact, a Canadian, finished more than a minute and a half behind the winner, completing the distance in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 46 seconds.
Kogo's victory ended a three-year streak of wins by Ethiopian Alene Reta, who placed third in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
Photo by Jay Bennett
More than one thousand runners and walkers competed in Saturday’s News and Sentinel Half Marathon. Despite humid weather, course records were set in the men’s and women’s half marathon and Two Mile events. To view photos of this event, go to cu.newsandsentinel.com
Kogo wasn't the only half marathon winner who set a course record. In the women's division, 20-year-old Ethiopian Mare Dibaba dominated the race from start to finish, breaking the tape on Market Street in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 19 seconds, more than 4 1/2 minutes ahead of another Ethiopian runner, Alyu Aziza, who finished in 1:14:51.10. Dibaba was running in Parkersburg for the first time and lived up to the word of her agent, who told race officials she would win on Saturday.
Also setting a course record while making even more history was Two Mile Race winner Tyler Cantley. Not only did he win the race for the fourth consecutive year, but his victory also marked the 10th straight year a Warren High School graduate won the race as Jason Linton captured the previous six titles.
"A decade of dominance,'' Cantley said after finishing in a course record 9 minutes and 39 seconds. Cantley runs for Ohio University, which also claimed Linton as an alumnus.
The women's Two Mile title and course record went to 17-year-old Deborah North of Washington, W.Va., who finished in 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
While Cantley was the only four-time winner on Saturday, Don Slusser of Monroeville, Pa., extended to three his streak of winning the half marathon walk division, finishing in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds. Kathy Ervin, a 43-year-old from Quaker City, Ohio, was the first female finisher in the walk, completing the hilly course in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 45 seconds.
Participation numbers for the race were up as 1,041 runners and walkers finished the half marathon, while 610 participants were electronically timed in the 2-mile.
The start of the race saw a huge American flag unveiled from the roof of the Oil & Gas Museum.