Kogo wins News and Sentinel Half Marathon again; claims eighth career crown
PARKERSBURG — The News and Sentinel Half Marathon has been held 32 times.
Following another dominating effort on Saturday morning, 25 percent of those titles belong to Kenyan Julius Kogo.
Kogo, who is now 32, ran the 13.1-mile course in a victorious time of 1 hour and 4 minutes flat to claim his third straight crown and eighth overall.
“Running today, it was very humid. It was very bad humidity,” admitted Kogo of the 92 percent humidity on what turned out to be a mostly cloudy race day.
Splashing himself with water throughout the race in an attempt to stay cool, Kogo had a nice laugh and was very thankful to the race fan who had a water hose going soon after he turned on Market Street for the final stretch run.
“Yeah, definitely. That felt good. I felt that,” added Kogo, who could have a new challenger in the future.
While Kogo earned $3,000 for his triumph, fellow Kenyan Edwin Kibichiy crossed in 1:05:19 to take second place and $2,000.
“I am most pleased. I am pleased but I am not satisfied. I wanted to win the race,” said Kibichiy, who was a two-time steeplechase All-American at Louisville where he won three Atlantic Coast Conference titles.
“Based on his reputation (Kogo’s) and then coming in last night and the weather it wasn’t my day, but I hope to win the next one.”
Just a few miles into the race, Kogo already had started pulling away and Kibichiy wasn’t part of the small pack of five. However, he managed to track everyone else back down as two other Kenyans — Cyrus Korir (1:05:29, $1,500) and Panuel Mkungo (1:05:57, $1,000) — placed third and fourth, respectively.
Mkungo was last year’s runner-up while Korir narrowly missed out on a cashing spot in 2017 after taking sixth.
“When I’m home in Kenya I just try to train hard,” Kogo added. “I want to thank God because to win eight times is not easy and I want to thank my friends. I want to thank them.”
This was Kogo’s first race of the season in the United States and obviously he was more than pleased with another victory.
“I stayed there (North Carolina) for three days and I came here Friday,” he added. “Yes, God willing I will be here next year. I want to thank my fellow runners because without them I could not do better.”
Kibichiy originally had planned to race in Fairmont, but opted to come to town at nearly the last minute.
“I decided to run here a few days before and I came here Friday night late,” Kibichiy said. “I drove like four or five hours last night and then I stayed in a hotel around here. This morning I met the race director (Chip Allman) and I requested to run as an elite.
“I’ve been running in college here and I know how that (humidity) affects racing and I just put myself behind the leader (Kogo). I felt good. It was a new course for me and I didn’t know if I was going to expect so many hills. Kogo is an experienced runner and I give props to him. Maybe I will hang with him next time.”