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Kogo wins The News and Sentinel Half Marathon again

August 19, 2017
By Jay W. Bennett ( , News and Sentinel Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG - Three and a half months ago, Kenyan Julius Kogo was beaten by one second in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon by fellow countryman Cyrus Korir.

Going into Saturday's 31st running of The News and Sentinel Half Marathon, many felt it would be a two-man race.

As it turned out, that indeed was the case, but the storyline was all about Kogo, who captured his record seventh career title here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. His winning time was 1 hour, 3 minutes and 9 seconds, which was 16 seconds faster than runner-up Panuel Mkungo.

Article Photos

Photo by Jeff Baughan
Julius Kogo breaks the tape during the 31st running of?The News and Sentinel Half Marathon Saturday in Parkersburg. Kogo won his seventh race in eight years with a winning time of 1:03.09.

"I left Kenya on Sunday and got in Monday night to North Carolina. Then I came to do some site training," said Kogo, who won five straight crowns from 2010-2014 and is now a repeat title winner again.

Although a decent pack kept pace with Kogo early on, it was little more than a two-man race by the time they crossed the 10K marker.

Kogo earned $3,000 for his championship win and Mkungo got $2,000.

Fact Box

Julius Kogo Domination

  • 2009: Finished 14th after going off the course
  • 2010: Champion, 1:02.17
  • 2011: Champion, 1:01.46 (course record)?
  • 2012: Champion, 1:03.35
  • 2013: Champion, 1:02.07
  • 2014:?Champion, 1:02.25
  • 2015:?Did not race, visa issues
  • 2016:?Champion, 1:03.42
  • 2017:?Champion, 1:03.09

Geofrey Ngetich was third (1:04.13, $1,500) and Evans Kurui (1:04.46, $1,000) grabbed the final cash spot in fourth.

Korir ended up sixth with a time of 1:05.50, which was eight seconds off the pace of fifth-place finisher Simion Chirchir. University of Richmond graduate Matt Liano finally broke the string of Kenyans crossing the finish line thanks to his seventh-place clocking of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 55 seconds, which earned him $1,000 as the top American runner.

Despite full-blown 100 percent humidity, Kogo noted "I didn't drink a lot of water. I know how the route is going and I just threw it on me. I ran pretty hard because I knew he was coming after me.

"I just run for it. I felt good. Winning seven times and I just thank God. I'm very happy for this."

Kogo likely would've had seven straight crowns, which includes a course record of 1:01.46 back in 2011, but he was unable to make the race in 2015 due to visa issues.

"Not getting the visa and being at home I knew God had something waiting for me and I was just training at home so I could do good here," Kogo added. "You know, God willing I will go for ocho here (next year)."

Mkungo, who is just 23, enjoyed his experience on the hilly 13.1-mile course.

"This is my first time in Parkersburg," Mkungo said. "I enjoyed running with my fellow runners and I thank God for being here today. He (Kogo) is my friend and we train together. I'm happy for him. He's the one who makes me run faster.

"I've been training hard for this race for about three months and I'm happy. I did well."

When asked if he had been around the course leading up to the race Mkungo replied, "no, I didn't. I was checking it out on my phone. I knew it was tough to run, but it was good. I had to do it. I was happy with my time. I can run faster than that, but I was happy."



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