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MHS grad runner-up in Half men’s race walk

August 16, 2015
By RON JOHNSTON ( , News and Sentinel Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG - Forrest Hawkins has trained on more challenging race walk courses than the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

"I live a few miles outside of Beverly, and I got a 10-mile loop and 14-mile loop out in the country which is all paved with hills up and down," said the 1987 Marietta High graduate after finishing second Saturday morning in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon men's race walk.

"This course is nothing compared to that," Hawkins added.

Article Photos

Photo by Jeff Baughan
Lee Stough of Glassport, Pa., is the winner of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel men’s race walk Saturday.

Lee Stough of Glassport, Pa., finished first with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 39.90 seconds. Joe Davies of St. Clairsville was third in 2:21.11.53.

Hawkins covered the 13.1-mile distance in 2:19.59.21.

"I'm happy with second," the 46-year-old Hawkins said. "I just wish my time was a little better."

So did Davies.

"My time was a little slow with the heat today," said the Martins Ferry grad.

The 52-year-old Davies said that the half marathon distance was the third one he had completed in his career.

"The first two were in Wheeling," he said, "and I think this one (Parkersburg News and Sentinel) is just as difficult as Wheeling even though it doesn't have the hills."

Davies, who got into race walking after having open heart surgery three years ago, explained.

"It's just the way it rolls that makes it more difficult," he said. "Wheeling has steeper hills and this one has more rolling hills."

The 33-year-old Stough never trailed in the race, and was uncontested as he crossed the finish line.

"I never saw him," Hawkins said.

Davies said he did, however.

"I was trying to stay with Lee today but I think it was about at the four-mile mark when he started to pull away from me," Davies added. "Once he pulled away he was gone. He's very good. I thought I'd get runner-up to Lee, but he had way too much for me."

Turns out that the real battle in the men's race walk was between Davies and Hawkins.

"Probably for three or four miles, I'd pass him, then he'd pass me," Hawkins said. "It went back and forth for a long time."

Davies agreed.

"He and I were back and forth for awhile," Davies said. "At the last water station, both my calves cramped up on me, and for a split second I thought I was going down - and just as that happened he came up and he was going to grab me to make sure that I didn't fall down. He was right behind me."

Hawkins grinned.

"He (Davies) cramped up there right around mile 12, and I wasn't sure if he was going down or not," Hawkins said.

At that point in the race, Hawkins surged in front of Davies, and never looked back.

"He (Hawkins) was right behind me," Davies said. "I thought I had him until then.Then he pulled away from me.

"I started to catch him towards the end but he had a little bit more than I had."

Notes: Hawkins said he didn't compete in sports at Marietta High. In fact, he just began race walking in January of 2014. "People have always complained all my life that I walk too fast," he said, smiling....Hawkins' wife Robin completed the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon run in 2 hours, 34 minutes. "He still beats me race walking," she said....Hawkins and his wife train together just outside of Beverly. "He race walks and I jog," Robin said....Hawkins works in a nursing home in Beverly....Hawkins considers race walking enthusiast Donna Graham of Lowell his mentor and has trained with her. "She's in France, now," he said....Hawkins was first in his age group at the USATF Masters in Jacksonville, Fla., a couple of weeks ago, he said....Hawkins said he is hoping to compete in a race walk in Perth, Australia, next year. "I have to save some money for that. It's a long way," he said....Davies was fifth overall in the race walk in Wheeling. "I try to be consistent," he said....Davies said he did a mud run a couple of weeks ago and got a sinus infection from the mud. "I've been kind of down from it," he said....After Martins Ferry, Davies served four years in the United States Air Force....Davies and wife Brenda have a son and two daughters....Since race walking, Davies said he feels like he's in the best shape of his life.



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