PARKERSBURG -Dominick Rubertino, a 55-year-old resident of Mentor, Ohio, knew he had set a personal best time Saturday during the walk division of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon, but he had no idea his effort earned him first place.
Rubertino seemed surprised when approached by a newspaper reporter at the finish line as he didn't understand why he was getting attention from the media. He became even more surprised when the reporter informed him he was the first walker to cross the finish line.
Rubertino, a 55-year-old underwriter, said he beat his previous best time by a couple minutes, finishing in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 37 seconds. But since he never had previously won a race, that thought never entered his mind.
"I've never won before,'' said Rubertino, who beat runner-up David Torbett, a 48-year-old Marietta resident, by a margin of 2 minutes and 18 seconds. Torbett finished in 2 hours, 20 minutes and 56 seconds. Another Mariettan, 55-year-old Tim Finkel, a fixture on the local walking circuit, was third, exactly one minute behind Torbett.
But Rubertino's story doesn't end there. While still hanging around the finish line, Rubertino learned that his wife, 54-year-old Marge, had won the women's division of the walk. The Rubertino family had just swept the walk categories, making history at the 27th running of the News and Sentinel race.
Walkers don't usually know how they are doing while out on the course as the crush of runners prevents them from keeping track of others who are walking. It is not unusual for walkers to find out at the finish line they finished first.
"This was a perfect day to walk,'' Dominick Rubertino said. "The volunteers here and the support of the community make this a great race. They feed us spaghetti on Friday night and pizza after the race.''
The Rubertinos came to Parkersburg for the first time last year. They were so thrilled with the race, they decided to come back, a story locals have heard many times as Parkersburg gets a great deal of repeat business from satisfied customers.
The Rubertinos have walked together for the past six or seven years. They do about 10 miles during the weekend and three or miles a day during the week.