Former Cadet first American woman to The News and Sentinel Half Marathon finish line
PARKERSBURG — Sarah Biehl signed up late for Saturday’s 32nd annual Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
But the former Fort Frye High and Shawnee State University running standout still was the first American woman to cross the finish line in a clocking of 1 hour, 20.34 minutes. She was also sixth overall. For her efforts, she earned $1000.
“I’m excited,” said the 24-year-old Biehl. “That was the goal.”
Malika Camacho, a Columbia native who recently became an American citizen, was runner-up in 1:23.46. She collected $500.
Biehl, an All-Ohio honoree as a prep runner and All-American (five time in cross country and track in college), was competing in her first N&S Half.
“It was harder than I expected, that’s for sure,” said Biehl, smiling. “It was kind of a last-minute decison to race it. I was just going to run it as a workout, but then a couple of days ago, I decided to sign up.”
Biehl said the last few miles she struggled, and “it didn’t look too good.”
“But,” she added, “I just wanted to finish and be the first American.”
“I am pleased with my time,” she said. “It was humid today, and with this type of course and how I felt at the end, I’m happy with it. Definitely.”
Biehl graduated from Fort Frye in 2012 and Shawnee State in 2016.
“But then I went back (to Shawnee State) for a second degree,” she said. “And, then, this past spring I graduated for the last time. Now, it’s time for a big girl job.”
Biehl, a Columbus (Hilliard), Ohio, resident, now, said she will be starting a new job as a physical therapist next week.
“A lot of exciting things are coming up,” she said.
Biehl is also planning to train and run in a marathon (26.1 miles) in the near future.
“I’m either going to do the Columbus Marathon in October or a marathon in California in December,” she said. “I haven’t decided just yet which one.”
“My goal is to run under 2:45 which would be an Olympic trial standard time. That’s a long term goal. And, this race (N&S Half) definitely helps with that goal.”
In the Half, Biehl also gave a lot of credit to former Belpre High running star Breydon Gates.
“He paced me up until the last couple of miles before taking off himself,” Biehl said. “He helped me out today, which was pretty nice.”
In the women’s masters (40-49), Luybov Denisova of Russia covered the Half in 1:26.24 and earned $750. Yvonne Gilders of Guysville, Ohio, was second and made $400.
Tammy Sluser of Monroe, Pa., won $750 in the Grand Masters (50-59), and Leisa Villani of Virginia Beach, Va., also got $750 in the Senior Grand Masters (60-plus).