PARKERSBURG - If once is good, then twice is better.
That was definitely the case here Saturday morning during the running of the 25th News and Sentinel Half Marathon as 26-year-old Kenyan Julius Kogo put on a dominating performance.
"My best today was very good," said Kogo, who not only won the men's 13.1-mile race for the second consecutive year, but also established a new course record for a second straight time.
"Some of the people I was running with last year, they were not here today. It was not like last year."
Although Kogo's surroundings of familiar runners might not have been the same, the end result sure was.
Kogo crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 1 minute and 47 seconds, which was 21 seconds better than his course record time from 2010. Not only does he receive $3,000 for taking the tape at the finish line, but he also gets a $300 bonus for breaking the course record as well as another bonus for being a repeat winner.
Kenyan Julius Kogo put on a dominating performance at the 25th Parkersburg News and Sentinel Saturday morning. Kogo crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 1 minute and 47 seconds, which was 21 seconds better than his course record time from 2010.
During last year's race, it was Kogo who unseated then three-time champion Alene Reta, who didn't participate on Saturday.
"The time that I ran was better than last year," said Kogo, who had been training in Kenya and just arrived in North Carolina a few days ago. "I knew that I'd run better today because I had done a lot of training at home. I trained well so I knew that I could do it."
Just 2 miles into the course, the lead pack of runners had dwindled to a half dozen and that number soon was cut in half as mile 3 approached.
By the time the threesome reached mile 4, the only runners in contention were Kogo, Julius Koskei and Linus Chumba. Lamech Mosoti was a distance fourth and Gilbert Kipkosgei had fallen back to fifth.
As Kogo continued to run solid times, which included a 4 minute and 46 second opening mile as well as a 4 minute and 40 second eighth mile, he managed to increase his lead by 14 seconds over Koskei going into mile 6.
By the time the runners reached the end of old Camden Avenue, Kogo's lead was approximately 500 meters and it was his race to win.
"I wanted to make it (my time) better today than last year," said Kogo, who reached the 10K point of the race in 29 minutes and 4 seconds this year after doing the same stretch in 28 minutes and 58 seconds in 2010.
Koskei finished as the runner-up with a time of 1 hour, 3 minutes and 41 seconds, which earned him $2,000. Mosoti finished 12 seconds behind Koskei for third and earned $1,500 while Chumba's time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 25 seconds was good enough for the $1,000 prize money awarded for fourth place.
Tariku Bokan (1:07:37) was fifth and he was followed by John Poray, the top United States finisher who completed the course in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 3 seconds.
Kipkosgei (1:08:13) was seventh while Luke Watson (1:09:57), Nik Schweikert (1:11:49) and masters champion Joseph Ekuom (1:12:03) rounded out the top 10.