Record Setting

Chepngeno breaks women’s mark for half marathon

JAY W. BENNETT, The Marietta Times The field of elite runners breaks away from the pack early Saturday morning on Juliana Street during the 33rd running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

PARKERSBURG — Kenyans ruled Saturday’s 33rd edition of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

In fact, in the women’s race it was a record-breaking performance.

That’s because 25-year-old Kenyan Vicoty Chepngeno established a new 13.1-mile course record when she finished in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 18 seconds. It was a mere second ahead of the 2010 mark previously held by Ethiopian Mare Dibaba.

For her efforts, Chepngeno not only secured the top prize of $3,000, but she also collected $300 more for having the fastest time ever.

Kenyans Martha Akeno (1:14:20; $2,000) and Areba Damaris (1:16:09; $1,500) followed as Ethiopian Meseret Merire took the fourth-place prize money of $1,000 after posting a time of 1:17:10.

Eight-time winner and three-time defending champion Julius Kogo was stuck in Kenya because of visa issues, which meant a new men’s champion would be crowned.

Taking the title was Raymond Magut, who was participating in his first-ever half marathon. Magut won $3,000 thanks to his time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 6 seconds. Edwin Kibichiy, the 2018 runner-up, once again was a bridesmaid after finishing 9 seconds off the pace. Fellow Kenyans Cleophas Ngetich (1:04:40) and Wilson Kibogo (1:04:55) followed in third and fourth, respectively.

Top American men’s honors went to University of Florida graduate Joshua Sanchez, who claimed $1,000 with his time of 1:09:37, which bested runner-up and Belpre High School graduate Breydon Gates (1:16:08, $500). On the women’s side, Texan Kelsey Bruce finished fifth overall and was the top American with a time of 1:17:58. Sarah Horbol out of Westlake, Ohio was second with a clocking of 1 hour, 19 minutes and 8 seconds.

The best efforts in the marathon from current Mid-Ohio Valley residents belonged to Jenny Brewer of St. Marys (1:31:56) and Lowell’s Scott Burnham (1:18:35).

Jennifer White, of Waverly, as well as Lee Stough of Glassport, Pa., earned $200 apiece as the women’s and men’s respective half marathon walk champions. Stough also won it in 2018.

In other age-based races for the half marathon run were the following winners: Male masters (Julius Kiptoo of Bowling Green, Ohio), grand masters (Michael Villani of Virginia Beach) and senior grand masters (Bill Long of Berea, Ohio; female masters (Yvonne Gilders of Guysville, Ohio); grand masters (Teresa Ferguson of Akron, Ohio) and senior grand masters (Jennie Rice of Mentor, Ohio).