PARKERSBURG — A pair of 2012 high school graduates crossed the finish line first here Saturday morning at the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
Former Fort Frye cadet Sarah Biehl, who now resides in Columbus, won the top prize of $1,000 after completing the 13.1-mile course in a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes and 39 seconds.
Jenny Brewer, a former St. Marys Blue Devil who ran cross-country in Alderson Broaddus before going to West Virginia University to become a physical therapist and now works in Camden Clark, won $500 for her effort to 1:32:10 runner-up.
“It’s kind of a home race for me. I’m from Lowell. It’s nice to come home and win a home race,” admitted Biehl, who also won the Road Runners Club of America regional championship. “I know this class.
“It’s the third time I’ve run it so I just try to stay strong on the hills and go with my pace and not overdo it at the start because I knew what was coming later in the day. the race.”
After graduating from the FFHS, Biehl competed at Shawnee State in cross country and track. She earned two degrees and is now a physical therapist at Riverside.
“I run ultra-marathons, that is to say 31 miles and more”, Biehl added. “I’m getting into the longer stuff. I think I ran a few minutes faster than last time. It was sort of the ultimate goal, which was to run faster than I had in the last few years.
“I was really excited when I saw the weather more than anything honestly. It’s the first race this fall. I was supposed to run my first 100 mile race a month ago but unfortunately I caught COVID, so I had to take time off.
Biehl said she is currently focused on running a few 50-mile races and possibly the next Columbus Half Marathon in October.
“I sort of ran by myself for the most part. It was lonely there” says Biehl. “I was a bit congested due to some allergies. I was a little worried about this. I actually had a blindfold on my nose, and it fell off after the first mile.
“I was so sweaty. I was a little worried about it, but it didn’t seem to bother me too much. Everything was fine. The last two miles, like that last hill, woo, it was a bit killer. After that, I was just ready to see the finish.
Brewer was participating in the event for the third time.
“I’m kind of in the middle of my marathon build for Columbus,” said the ex-Blue Devil. “I was pretty happy because it was around the same time I raced a few years ago, and it was pretty warm there.
“Very happy with today. Sarah walked away very quickly, and so did everyone. I just found myself in no man’s land, but I tend to. It was ok. have done.”
Tackling the course is always a challenge for Brewer, but she had a plan.
“Focus on water stops,” added Brewer, who only started running in her senior year. “I normally stop every couple so you can get used to this pace and look forward to some Gatorade and keep going. I’ve run these hills a million times, and it’s still going strong every time I was happy to place and get money, but no particular expectation.
“I just wanted to go out and do a good workout, at least in preparation for October and the marathon. My mom ran for a million years, and she kind of let me find it, and I loved it and slowly worked my way up and here I am now. I am a runner for life.
Tammy Slusser, a veteran of more than 20 races at Parkersburg, flew in from Monroeville, Keystone State to compete. She collected $500 for her third-place finish which featured a time of 1 hour, 37 minutes and 17 seconds.
“It’s just hot and humid” Slusser spoke shortly after crossing the finish line. “The whole week has been nice and cool, except today. I no longer like the heat and the humidity at my age. When I was younger I could handle it, but once I hit 50 I can’t take the heat anymore.
“In the second half, my time went out the window. I was in the rhythm of the first 10K. I was just looking at the guy in the green shirt in front of me. Just like staying with the green shirt. I’m 57 now. It gets harder and harder every year. “
Rounding out the top five were master champion Nikkol Zanes of Rayland, Ohio and senior grandmaster winner Leisa Villani of Virginia Beach. Zanes crossed in 1:41:05 and Villani finished in 1:45:53.
The rest of the top 10 included Contessa Kennedy of Winfield (1:47:02), Brenna Goodson of Bridgeport (1:48:03), North Carolina runners Kayla Blevins (Spruce Pine, 1:40:05) and Alexa Anders (Durham, 1:48:14) and Candace Kesselring of Moundsville (1:48.18).
Parkersburg High School science teacher Katherine Vickers won the competitive walk title with a time of 2 hours, 34 minutes and 33 seconds.
“I already ran the Parkersburg semi-final, but I didn’t walk it. It was the first time I walked on it, “ Vickers said. “It was tough out there. It was pretty hot. Probably around the eighth mile I started to really feel it, but I kept telling myself to keep going.
Vickers admitted that the decision to go on the march was due to the fact that “In December, I had plantar fasciitis in my left foot, so I was trying not to make it worse. Also, my fiancé Jason Mader is a walker and kind of helped me get into it.
Tereasa Danford of McMechen, who was the grandmaster walking champion, crossed in 2:48:51 to claim second place honors.
Ashley Gates of Vienna (2:53:31) took third place. Washington’s Vicki Johnson (2:56:33) and Kelly Toothman (2:57:46) round out the top five.
Belpre’s Amy Honeycutt took the walk master title with a time of 3:10.5, and Vincent’s Carol Dodge was the senior grandmaster winner after crossing in 3:08:34.
Contact Jay Bennett at [email protected]