Marietta runner looking to improve Half Marathon time

Alex Wesel is hoping for a better time in this year’s News and Sentinel Half Marathon, which is scheduled to run in Parkersburg Aug. 17.

A year ago, the 2012 Marietta High graduate covered the 13.1-mile distance in 1 hour and 31 minutes.

That’s a respectable clocking, but….

“Last year was the first time I ran the Half, and it was a lot different than anything I ran in high school,” said the 19-year-old Wesel, who will be a sophomore at The Ohio State University in Columbus this upcoming school semester. “You definitely have to pace yourself. We just went way out too fast.”


“I ran with Nick Hannuksela,” Wesel said.

Hannuksela, a Tiger running teammate in high school, ended up crossing the finish line in a time of 1:33.

“That hill got us at the end,” Wesel said.

This year, Wesel said he and Hannuksela will be joined by Sam Garrison, another MHS classmate and teammate.

Wesel and Garrison were two of the legs on the school’s record-setting distance medley relay team in the spring of 2012.

Actually, while running the 13.1 mile distance was a first for Wesel last August, he is no stranger to the Half Marathon scene in Parkersburg.

“When I was in high school, our cross country coach Dale Leeper always liked for us to run the 2-mile race as a time trial for the upcoming season,” Wesel said. “That was always a lot of fun, and we could always go out as fast as we wanted to.”

As a prep runner at MHS, Wesel was solid and a letterwinner in both cross country and track and field. At 6-foot-2, he also played on the J.D. Secrest-coached Tigers’ varsity basketball squad.

“In track, I ran anything from the 400-up,” Wesel said.

And, Wesel was competitive and a consistent scorer as an orange and black thinclad. When he was a junior, he was one of the legs on the school’s record-setting 4×1600 relay team.

As a senior, he was a regional qualifier in the 800, 1600, 4×800 and 4×400.

After graduation, Wesel probably could’ve competed at the D3 or D2 level somewhere, but elected instead to continue his education and major in accounting at OSU.

“Ohio State running and D1 is way too elite,” he said.

Wesel still runs, though, on the club level, and also plays intramural basketball. Two of his hoops teammates were former Marietta classmates’ Tim and Paige Grosel.

“Tim and I are going to be roommates again at Ohio State,” Wesel said.

Right now, of course, Wesel’s focus is getting ready and preparing for the Half. Along with the training and road runs, he spends a lot of time outside with his summer job at Greenleaf Landscapes on Muskingum Drive in Marietta. He’s in the heat much of the time, and that’ll help some when he runs 13.1 miles in August.

“You know, on the shorter runs, like the 5K, you never worried about getting water,” Wesel said. “But in the Parkersburg Half Marathon, you definitely pay attention to the water stations along the route.”

Oh, yes, two days after the competition, Wesel will be celebrating his 20th birthday.

What better gift to give himself than an improved time in the Half, right?