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Record Breaking

Kogo breaks half record; Reta third

August 21, 2010

PARKERSBURG — It was a perfect Saturday morning for running and 25-year-old Kenyan Julius Kogo ran the race of his life to establish a new course record and unseat three-time consecutive champion Alene Reta at the 24th running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

It was a case of unfinished business for Kogo, who runs out of Chapel Hill, N.C., and with the victory earns the title of Road Runners Club of America national champion. A year ago, Kogo was in the running for a top spot, but went off course and finished a disappointing 14th place.

Kogo wasn’t going to let that scenario occur again as he took the lead for good during the fourth mile of the race on Gihon Road from Reta, who finished third behind Canadian Reid Coolsact.

By the time Kogo was sprinting past South Hills Golf Course, he held a lead of 50 yards and continued to build upon it until he posted the new course record time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 8 seconds. His victory earned the top prize of $3,000 and then another $300 for setting the course record.

Coolsact, from Guelph which is about 45 minutes west of Toronto, posted a runner-up time of 1 hour, 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Reta, from Ethiopia, was third with his effort of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 20 seconds, while Ethiopian Girma Tolla (1:04:31) and Kenyan Samuel Ndereba (1:04:38) rounded out the top five. Prize money for second through fourth place is $2,000; $1,500; $1,000 and $500.

“Last year I ran this, but I just lose when I was about a mile from the finish, but today I took the course as business so I wouldn’t lose like last year,” said Kogo, who noted he was of no relation to former course record holder Steve Kogo of Kenya (1:02:25, 1990).

“I felt good, but the pace was very too fast. The weather was very good. That was a personal record for me. This is the first time for me to win a half marathon.”

Coolsact came to the area this year to run with his training partner Eric Gillis, who was sixth with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 48 seconds.

“Eric and I were training for a marathon,” Coolsact said. “We just wanted to come here, feel good and be competitive. Eric probably could’ve run a little bit faster, but he didn’t have his best race and I had a good race.

“Alene Reta, he won the race (Around the Bay 30K) in my hometown earlier this year. I didn’t run it, but I saw him run and I decided when I came here I really wanted to beat him. He was my target and I got him so I’m really happy about that.”

Despite not winning the race, Reta wasn’t too displeased.

Although he would’ve loved to capture the title for a fourth straight year, he knows a runner can’t always be at their best every time out on the course.

“You know, you run into things like that,” said Reta, who added that he flew in from Mexico City to Charleston on Friday and had come from a difficult race.

“Today, I gave it a good shot. Next time, I’ll give it a good shot. I’m thinking I’m tired today actually.”

Reta took an early lead and after the second mile of the race a pack of a dozen remained together.

However, that didn’t last long as the pack had dropped to seven by the time the runners had reached Marrtown Road and then to the eventual top three after the third mile.

“So today, he won. I’m tired, very, very tired,” Reta added after a long massage following his finish. “That (the flight) made me tired. That’s the reason I was tired and he won. I tried to go, but I’m tired. I went my best, but I went my own pace.

“My leg was hurting today with the scratching of the shoes, but that is the thing. This is running. One day you win and tomorrow somebody else wins. I like Parkersburg. Parkersburg is my hometown almost. I’ll try to run back here again.”

Rounding out the top 10 behind Gillis were Jeffrey Eggleston (1:06:06), Benjamin Meto (1:06:18), Edward Tabut (1:07:26) and James Boitt (1:08:06).

Article Photos

Photo by Jeff Baughan
Kenyan Julius Kogo crosses the finish line, establishing a new course record and unseating three-time consecutive champion Alene Reta at the 24th running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.



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