Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Videos | Home RSS

2-mile: Half marathon’s little sister

August 20, 2009
PARKERSBURG — There’s a lot more to the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon than runners competing on a 13.1-mile course.

While the nature of a half marathon is exactly that — running or walking to traverse the distance around the city streets of Parkersburg — there’s other options available for people who might not be able to properly train or physically accomplish what’s required to finish a half marathon.

That’s where Parkersburg News and Sentinel 2-mile race coordinator Sharon Marks comes into the picture.

Marks is a woman who loves her job title and enjoys seeing people accomplish things others might not think is a big deal.

Although finishing a half marathon for many is an accomplishment in and of itself, the same can hold true when it comes to running, or walking, the 2-mile event.

With the starting line located at Third and Juliana Streets beside the Town Square Parking Garage, 2-mile entrants begin their trek at 8:05 a.m. on Saturday and head to the finish line at Sixth and Market Streets.

People who compete in the 2-mile don’t do it for the cash, because there isn’t any offered.

Instead, they do it for a trophy. Some do it for bragging rights while others, like area cross country programs, do it as a competitive team effort. Not only do high school cross country programs annually enter the event for the competitive team race, but so do middle schools.

“It’s going well. It’s exciting,” Marks said.

Marks said it’s also exciting for her to watch people such as Parkersburg resident Dorcas Godbey, who is in her 80s, to walk the course and finish.

“She always walks it every year,” Marks added.

One of the best things about the 2-mile race is family and friends often partake in the event as a social activity, using it as a good way to go out, have fun and get some exercise all at the same time.

“It’s the little sister of the big one,” said Marks in comparing the 2-mile to the half marathon itself. “I just jump on the back and ride.”

On the competitive side of things, former Warren High School standout and current Ohio University runner Tyler Cantley will be back in this year’s race as the two-time defending champion.

Cantley bested his winning time of 10:02 in 2007 by one second last year, but must run a near flawless race to have any chance of beating ex-Warren runner Jason Linton’s 2006 2-mile course record of 9 minutes, 43 seconds.

Lowell (Ohio) resident Donna Graham, who broke her own 2-mile course walk record last year by finishing in a time of 19:22, will be back to try and make it three in a row as well.

Graham actually had the best overall time of any competitor in the walk division last summer.

However, Marietta resident Richard Shea also returns to the fold on Saturday and after winning the male portion of the walking event in 2008 he’ll be back to repeat and also better his time of 20 minutes flat.

One of the most inspirational stories for this year’s race is that of Wood County resident William Ellis.

The 73-year-old who moved to Wood County from New Martinsville in 1961 suffers from diabetes and will be walking the course on his artificial legs. It actually will mark the first time Ellis has done something like this.

“Oh yeah, if I didn’t I would’ve have entered,” Ellis said when asked if he thought he’d complete the course. “I just decided I’d like to try it. I could walk the 13 miles, but I would need a flashlight and it would be way in the early morning before I got in.”

Ellis, who still cuts firewood, mows his own grass and raises a garden, said although he doesn’t have anyone who is going to necessarily walk with him, he doesn’t think that will be a problem.

“I’m just doing it on my own,” he admitted. “I’ll probably run into somebody out there I know for sure.”

Article Photos

Photos by Jeff Baughan
Warren High School graduate Tyler Cantley breaks the tape to win the 2008 2-Mile Race. Cantley is the two-time defending champion. Warren graduates have dominated as Jason Linton won the six years prior to Cantley’s initial victory. Holding the tape are Parkersburg News and Sentinel publisher James Spanner and Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.

Fact Box

2 Mile Facts

What: 2-Mile Run and Walk
When: 8:05 a.m. Saturday
Where: Starting line on Juliana Street, Finish line on Market Street.
Who: The race is open to anyone and traditionally attracts a wide range of ages from babies being pushed in their strollers to senior citizens. Competition is conducted for both those who run and those who walk.
How to register: Registration can be done online at or at the Parkersburg City Building on Friday. Entry fee is $15.
Awards: The awards ceremony will take place at 9:45 a.m. at the Bicentennial Park area. Awards will be presented to the overall winners as well as those who place in the age group categories. Team trophies also will be awarded.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web