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Don Slusser won his third title last year

August 19, 2011
By JIM BUTTA , News and Sentinel Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG - A pair of three-time champions highlight the field for the 25th News and Sentinel Half Marathon walk. Joining the field of more than 150 walkers that will take off from the Juliana Street start line at 8 a.m. on Saturday will be Monroeville, Pennsylvania's Don Slusser and Quaker City, Ohio's Kathy Irvin.

Slusser captured his third title last year, covering the 13.1-mile course in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds. He is the only three-time winner in the men's division. Tupper Plains' Matthew Boyles-the course record holder with a time of 1:38:46-captured the title in 2005 and 2007.

Ervin, who also won in 2008 (2:17:21) and 2009 (2:20:15) proved to be faster than any other walker last year, winning with a time of 2:23:45. A victory on Saturday will allow her to join Williamstown's Brenda Pomrenke as the race's only four-time winner.

"It (walking) is a very healthy lifestyle," explained walk race coordinator Donna Graham. "I have done the half marathon twice and the two-mile three times, but decided that it was time for me to give back to the community and I thought this would be a good way."

In the men's division local walkers Tim Finkel, David Torbett and Jay Smith are expected to challenge Slusser for the crown while in the women's race look for Anda Coiner and Tena Harper to chase Ervin.

Others to keep an eye on include 90-year old Jack McClain, who will be looking to defend his first place in the 80 and over division and 79-year old Bernie Fries, who will be competing in his 12th News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

There will be 11 monitors on the course watching the competition. They will be making sure that walkers have at least one foot on the ground at all times during the race.



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