PARKERSBURG - Ohio's Fred Kieser, the cross country and track coach at Saint Joseph Academy, rolled to an easy win here Saturday in the Masters division of the 26th News and Sentinel Half Marathon while Pennsylvania's John Brockenbrough three-peated in the Grand Masters classification.
Kieser, who was unsure if he had won the $750 top prize for the 40-49 age group when he crossed the finish line, posted a winning effort of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 25 seconds. That time was well ahead of runner-up Kefah Keraro, who won $400 for his time of 1 hour, 15 minutes and 13 seconds.
Kieser hasn't raced in Parkersburg for several years and the changes in the course made things a little more difficult on him.
Photos by Jeff Baughan
St. Joseph Academy (Ohio) cross country and track coach Fred Kieser won the men’s Masters division at Saturday’s 26th News and Sentinel Half Marathon after crossing the finish line in a time of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 25.9 seconds.
"Very disappointed (in my time). I knew the course was slow so I accounted for that and I still ran even slower than I thought," Kieser said. "I didn't feel good and it was even harder than I remembered.
"I haven't been here in about seven or eight years. There were more hills earlier than I remembered. It was harder than I remembered and I'm older than I used to be."
Kieser said he came down Friday afternoon and enjoyed the pasta dinner, but was unsure if he'd be in the running for the Masters crown.
"This is my first half marathon in maybe a year and I didn't know," said Kieser, who was the first American Masters victor since John Piggott in 2007. "I've been doing shorter stuff this summer and I'm just trying to really get back into shape and today was a wake-up call. My lungs were great and the legs were shot in the third mile.
"It was so hard and so uphill that you had to throw out all goals, paces and just run on intelligence and feel. It was hard. At some point it goes from just racing to just finishing."
Brockenbrough also won $750 for his victory on Saturday. The 54-year-old posted a winning time of 1:21:23 to edge runner-up Terry McCluskey, who got $400 after clocking in at 1:23:39.
"This is probably one of my better races in Parkersburg," Brockenbrough said. "I felt pretty good. I liked it (the weather) because it was cooler. I liked staying out of the sun for the first 10 miles."
Not knowing how is body would hold up, Brockenbrough was happy with the way things worked out.
"For me, it's always the last three miles, how much I'm going to give back," he said. "But today I hung in there. I had a lot of motivation because I knew Terry was coming for me. This race, this is like my highlight of the year.
"This is my fifth year and I hope to keep coming back. For me, this is the best running race I've ever been to. The atmosphere, the competition and just the organization of the race is unbelievable."
James Fitzsimmons, from New Martinsville, won the award for the oldest racer (82) to cross the finish line.
Wheeling 23-year-old Dustin Hall was the Norma Phillips Award winner for being the first male Mountain State runner to finish.
Also, Caldwell's Brian Hesson captured the Wood/Washington County award as well as the Rick Brown River City Runners and Walkers Club award.