PARKERSBURG - Kenya's Julius Kogo became the third three-time winner of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Saturday, when he broke the tape in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 36 seconds.
Kogo has won the race each of the last three years, including setting the course record of 1:01:47 last year.
The 26-year-old Kogo won by a margin of 49 seconds over runner-up Alene Reta of Ethiopia, who had won here in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the three races prior to Kogo's victory streak.
The two find themselves in select company as the only other three-time winner of the race is Kenya's Godfrey Kiprotich, who captured the title in 1992, 1994 and 1995.
Asami Kato made some history of her own, becoming the first winner of the race to hail from Japan as she was the first female to cross the finish in line in 1 hour, 12 minutes and 57 seconds, a victory margin of 17 seconds over runner-up Malika Mejdoub of Morocco.
Winning the masters titles were 41-year-old Fred Kieser of Cleveland, Ohio, who finished in 1:10:25 - nearly five minutes ahead of runner-up Kefah Keraro of Kenya - and 44-year-old Russian Irina Permitina, who won the women's masters title in 1:16:52, 14 minutes faster than second-place finisher Tammy Slusser of Monroeville, Pa.
Walk winners were 54-year-old Tim Finkel of Marietta, who crossed the finish line in 2:19 flat, and 29-year-old Annette White of Wheeling, whose winning time was 2:21:06.
The 2-Mile Run also witnessed some history as Tyler Cantley won the race for the sixth straight year, finishing in 9 minutes, 56.6 seconds. That makes 12 straight years a runner from Warren High School has captured the title, as Jason Linton won the previous six races. Ironically, both Linton and Cantley followed the same path as both went on to run for Ohio University. Cantley finished 12 seconds better than 17-year-old Kody Wolfe of Racine, Ohio, who took second.
Kaylee Williams of Vienna, a member of the cross country team at Parkersburg High School, won the women's 2-Mile title for the second straight year. Williams, who finished in 12 minutes, 25 seconds, nipped April Kirk, a Parkersburg South runner, by just 3.5 seconds.
If you think that finish was close, wait until you hear about the 2-Mile walk result. Richard Shea, a 46-year-old Marietta resident, nipped 51-year-old Alex Thoburn of Paden City by three-tenths of a second. Shea's winning time was 19:18.2.
The female walk winner was 61-year-old Charlene Dugan of Waverly, who finished in 22:47. Vicky Johnson, a 45-year-old Washington, W.Va., resident, was second in 23:16.
Participation numbers were solid as 787 runners and 113 walkers crossed the finish line for the half marathon while the 2-Mile attracted 667 run finishers and 195 who walked the course.
Medical problems were kept to a minimum as the temperature was just 63 degrees when the half marathon got under way. The sun came out midway through the event.