WHEELING - It was hot and humid, but even that couldn't stop another successful Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic.
The annual race through Wheeling went ''smooth'' according to race Director R. ''Scat'' Scatterday.
Tariku Bokan of Washington, D.C., finished the race in 1:09:03.58 to win, 30 seconds better than Nixon Kiplugat of Hebron, Ky. Bokan beat Wheeling native Colin Gundling's 2011 winning time by nearly 11 minutes, setting a new race record.
THE GREAT RACE – The hot weather didn’t keep people away from Saturday’s Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, as runners from all over the country flocked to Wheeling to take part in the annual race. -- Staff photo
Avella, Pa.'s Jeff Weiss finished third at 1:10:19.38. Gundling, last year's winner, crossed the finish line at 1:22:02.81 to place 11th.
The race went through a bit of a change in order to make it a certified course by the USA Track and Field. The course was extended 279 feet, as the runners traveled from Main Street east on 23rd Street, down Market Street and west on 24th Street before heading back to Main Street.
The first female to cross was Lilian Mariita, who runs out of Hebron, Ky, along with Kiplugat. Her time was 1:23:51.51, good for 13th overall.
''This course is so hard - so hilly,'' Mariita said. ''It's a special course. Not everyone can do the course very well.''
Shadyside's Dr. Mary Kreis was the first local female finisher, crossing the finish line at 1:35:02.41.
Valley Grove's Corey Klug, 21, was the first walker, coming in at 2:17:38.48. Klug was overcome with emotion, chanting, ''Yes, Yes, Yes,'' as he crossed. Barnesville's Carl Kondrach (2:19:35.92) and Monroeville, Pa.'s Don Slusser (2:21:15.51) followed.
The first female walker came shortly after Slusser as Springboro, Ohio's Laurie Brooks came in at 2:21:15.82.
Annette White (2:25:22.91) and Carie Gump (2:28:15.10), both of Wheeling, rounded out the top three.
Matthew Szymaszek, a native of Weatogue, Conn., smoked the competition in the 5K run with a time of 16:31.7.
Magnolia junior James Haught and former Blue Eagle Cameron Benson finished less than 3 minutes later. Haught beat out his former teammate with a 19:20.9. Benson finished in 19:22.4.
Tina Seech of Upper St. Clair was the 5K female winner at 20:42.1.
Alex Thoburn of Paden City came in first in the 5K walk with a time of 31:47.8. Donna Graham finished second and was the first female walker at 31:56.0.
Tony Purpura of Wheeling was third at 31:56.6.
''With the humidity, it shows the individual motivation is very strong,'' Scatterday said. ''They are not interested particularly in time, they are more interested in saying they took on the challenge and saying they were victorious over the course.
''They are motivated so strongly that they were willing to do whatever it takes.''
Sponsors for the event are Project BEST, Health Plan, Ohio County Commission, Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration, United Bank, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, Robinson Automotive Group, Steptoe & Johnson, Nardone Chiropractic, Riesbeck's Food Market, Elm Grove Dodge, West Virginia Northern Community College, IBEW 141, Sheetz, Easter Seals, Wheeling Country Day School and C3 Church.