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Ex-Richmond Spider Liano is top American

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

PARKERSBURG - Seventh overall, 29-year-old Matt Liano of Flagstaff, Arizona was more than stoked to earn $1,000 for finishing as the top American male in the 31st running of The News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Saturday morning.

"Yeah, it definitely helps offset the costs and I'll go back to Arizona and get back into training," said Liano, who finished with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 55 seconds. "I live in Arizona now and I'm from New York originally.

"I grew up on kind of the east coast and then when I turned pro I moved out to Arizona."

Article Photos

Photo by Jeff?Baughan
Matt Liano was the first American to cross the finish line during Saturday’s race.

When the race got underway at 8 a.m., the heat wasn't too much of a factor, but the humidity was an extremely muggy 100 percent.

"Going to school in Virginia for five years, I definitely got used to the heat and humidity," added Liano, who was followed by United States runner-up and $500 winner Abinet Adraro of New Mexico, who was 13th overall with a clocking of 1:08.55. "But, I've been removed from it for a little over five years.

"I've been at altitude in Arizona and it's very dry there and a lot cooler there. This is a good test of the body and training. I'm happy where I am right now."

As it turned out, Liano said he selected this race just because it fit his schedule.

"I'm more of a marathoner," he said. "I'm in marathon training right now and I have one in about nine weeks. My college coach is from West Virginia - St. Marys -right down the road, Steve Taylor. I kind of had this race on my radar for a little while and I thought it would be a good training step.

"This is my first time here and I went to the University of Richmond. I got here a couple days before the race and I drove the course Friday so I would have some visuals and know how the hills are going to be. I knew it was a tough course and so I wanted to kind of have images in mind where I thought I would be able to make moves."

Despite finishing behind six runners from Kenya, Liano was fairly content, but as any runner would say, he wanted more.

"To be honest, I thought I would be in the pack for a little while longer," Liano added. "But, I'm coming off hip surgery from December so this is still a good step in the right direction. It was definitely a good workout at the very least.

"I mean, I would've liked to have run faster. I've run a 1:01 for a half marathon before. I mean, I'm not quite in that shape right now, but like I said I think this is a good step in the right direction."

Liano said he's heading to Frankfurt, Germany for a marathon in a little more than two months.

"This is a really tough course and coming off the hip surgery I just wanted my hip to feel good," he said. "I ran a half marathon about four weeks ago.

"That was my last race and I ran almost the exact same time, but this is a much tougher course. It's a good progression where I am right now and I just have to take it for what it is."

In other races, the master title went to Brian Hesson of Whipple, Ohio (1:19.29, $750), the grand master crown and $750 was won by John Piggott (1:24.20) of Williamsburg, Va., and the senior grand master was Bill Long of Berea, Ohio, who also took home $750 with a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 32 seconds. Also earning $400 for his runner-up master finish was Mark Tompkins of Williamsburg, Va., who clocked in at 1:19.58.

Belpre graduate Breydon Gates, who is 24, completed the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 14 minutes and 56 seconds to earn top local finisher status.



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