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Women’s field wide open

August 20, 2009
By JIM BUTTA
PARKERSBURG—The women’s field may not have the depth it has possessed in past years, but anyone who thinks the 23rd running of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon is void of international talent will be in for a surprise on Saturday.


“It (the talent) is down,” race director Chip Allman explained.


“There are not nearly as many elite women as there are elite men in this year’s field.


“But, that doesn’t mean that the field will be without quality.”


First place winner Angelina Mutuku as well as runner-up Jane Muia and third placer Mamitu Daska had not entered as of Tuesday’s final committee meeting.


However, several of last year’s top placers will be at the starting line when the race gets under way at 8 a.m.


“We always seem to have a few elite runners who show up during Friday’s registration and we usually try our best to accommodate them,” continued Allman.


The 25-year Mutuku out-kicked her Kenyan teammate Muia and Ethiopia’s Daska down the final stretch on Market Street to win in a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes and 48 seconds—well off the course record of 1:11.01 set by Libbie Hickman in 2000.


Muia eked out second place by 19 seconds (1:13:37) over Daska (1:13:56) while 22-year old Ethiopian Teyba Naser crossed the finish line in fourth at 1:13.57.


Rounding out the top five slots was 28-year old Ethiopian Alemtsehav Misganaw in a time of 1:14.59.


Naser and Misganaw will be back for another shot at the $3,000 first prize as well as the Road Runners Club of America National Championship title and will be joined in the field by 45-year old Russian Albino Gallyamova, who has posted the fastest time among the group—1 hour and 11 minutes.


Coming back to Parkersburg after a year’s absence will be 2007 third place finisher Maria Busienei, who posted a time of 1:13:46 in her first attempt at the 13.1-mile race which traverses the streets of downtown and south Parkersburg.


The field also will include last year’s top two Americans—Phebe Ko and Becki Michael—as well as the top American finisher at the Ogden 20K in Wheeling, Sarah Flament.


Ko (1:19:06), who lives and trains in Baltimore, edged out Michael by 16 seconds for the $1,000 top prize given to the first American to cross the finish line.


Michael (1:20:06) will be running her first race with a new last name as the 25-year old married men’s elite runner Josh Ordway on July 25.


Other runners to watch include 22-year old Kenyan Caroline Chepkorir, 33-year old Melissa Rittenhouse, 2008 Masters runner-up Tammy Slusser and 51-year old Lee Dipietro, who captured the Masters title in 2002 and 2004.


“I’ve got at least two more elite women who I expect to be in the field and I expect that they will be up there fighting for that top spot as well,” said Allman.


 

Article Photos

Photo by Jim Butta
Teyba Naser of Ethiopia, who placed fourth here last year, is one of the favorites for Saturday’s News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

 
 

 

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