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

Indiana runner hopes to set national record at half marathon

July 22, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt.

That is not the case, however, when it comes to Indiana native Gary Romesser and the News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

"I've run the race several times and the three things that always sticks with me are the hills, the humidity and the hospitality," explained Romesser. "I guess those are the things that keep bringing me back."

Those and an opportunity to capture yet another age division title.

The 60-year-old runner stood atop the Mens' Masters Division in both 1992, when his time of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 40 seconds left him 15 seconds shy of establishing a new national record in the age division, and again in 1996.

When it came time for the lifelong runner to move up to the Grand Masters Division (50-and-over) he did so in fine fashion by coming back to Parkersburg in 2007 and capturing that division's championship with a time of 1:20:34. It was the first time the division had been recognized by the race organizers.

"I've always been one to set goals for myself," said Romesser. "And, running has been a great help in giving me multiple opportunities to set goals."

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management inspector once again will make the trek to the Mountain State with a new goal in mind-establishing a new national mark in the 60-64 age bracket.

"It would be great if I could break that record in Parkersburg because I ran my best half ever when I was 40 years old there. I love the sport and I love coming to Parkersburg so it would be great if I could accomplish my goal there."

The present mark of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 55 seconds was established by Norm Green at the 1993 Philadelphia Half Marathon. Romesser just missed lowering that mark earlier this year when he posted a 1:18 at the Indianapolis 500 Festival Half Marathon.

"I wasn't as prepared as I needed to be at that race," he said. "My training is more complete at this time and I feel like I can really go after it in Parkersburg."

Setting new records is nothing new to Romesser, as his clocking of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 9 seconds at the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon back in 2008 is the mark to beat in the 50-54 division.

"It (running) keeps me young. And, I like to go around and show people that you are never too old to compete."

Romesser has never shyed away from competition.

After winning the Grand Masters Division in 2007, Romesser returned the following year, but with a protege-Thomas Dever of Terre Haute, Ind. The veteran runner again posted a quality time, but it was not enough to fend off Dever, who covered the 13.1-mile distance in a new record time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 33 seconds.

"I coach Tom (Dever). I told him about the race and convinced him to come. I try to bring top runners with me every time I come to Parkersburg because it is such a great race."

A habit he will continue this August when 30-year old John Poray pays his first visit to the Mid-Ohio Valley.

"He (Poray) is trying to run a 1:05 which would qualify him for the Olympic trials," said Romesser. "He has run a 1:07 and I know the level of competition he will face in Parkersburg will be strong enough to push him to where he will have a chance to reach his goal."

Poray won't be the only one facing some stiff competition. Romesser also will face stiff competition in the Grand Masters Division as defending champion John Brockenbrough from Murraysville, Pa., will be back after winning with a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes and 51 seconds last year.

"Hopefully, I can find him (Brockenbrough) at the start line and we can push one another throughout the race,' Romesser said. "Competition only makes us better and running in a race that attracts the elite runners that Parkersburg brings can only help me in reaching my goal."

Article Photos



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web