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Local runners hit streets of Houston

Feb. 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
Updated Jan. 31, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.

Area runners crossing marathon finish line together from L to R Keith Schaefer, Jennifer Yarbrough, and Angela Schaefer take on the 26.2 miles together

MISSY JANZOW: RUNNING AND FITNESS

About 50 local runners took to the streets of Houston and Austin over the weekend to compete.

On Saturday, Houston was again the site of the USA half-marathon national championship, the seventh year for the men's race and the fifth year's for the women's race. The USA half-marathon national championship drew some of the best U.S. distance runners and the race was held on the same loop course that will be the site of the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. The men's race went down to the wire, with eventual winner Mo Trafeh of California passing last year's winner, Ryan Hall, in the final stretch to claim the victory with a time of 1:02:17. Jen Rhines won the women's race with a time of 1:11:14.

The marathon, in its 39th year, was held on Sunday despite rain and hail in the forecast. Runners ran a good portion of the 26.2 miles under humid conditions.

Bekana Daba set a course record and won the men's title, along with a $35,000 purse prize, in a time of 2:07:04. Mamitu Daska won the women's race in a time of 2:26:33.

There were 6,728 runners who started the marathon and 9,114 who ran the half-marathon. About 40 local runners ran in the full marathon, half-marathon, or 5K on Sunday.

Two local runners qualified for the Boston Marathon by meeting the time qualifying standards. Andrew Hennessey was the top runner from the area posting a time of 3:17:16, easily meeting the qualifying standard for men in the 45-49 age group. Hennessey has qualified multiple times for the prestigious event. Michael Felchak, age 50, qualified for his 8th Boston Marathon with a time of 3:31:58.

This marks the 24th time he has run the Houston Marathon, with his first time being back in 1987 where he posted a time of 3:32:39, "I beat that time by 41 seconds."

Felchak's goals were to qualify for the Boston Marathon and to beat his time of 3:28 from twenty years ago, "I fell short of beating that time, but happy that I qualified for Boston again."

Felchak had an amazing performance, especially considering that weather conditions were far from ideal, "The weather was horrible, upper 60's, drizzle, and rain the whole time. It poured miles 15-18."

Leslie Hinton, age 37, was the top female runner in the marathon with a time of 3:57:06. This was only the 2nd marathon for Hinton, a performance that had her cutting 41 minutes from her previous time.

She was on course to qualify for Boston up until about mile 12, "My goal was to go under four hours. I went out slower due to the congestion at the start, and knew I wasn't going to meet the qualifying standard around mile 12 or 13, so I just held onto my initial goal of going under four hours."

She plans another in the future with hopes of shaving off the twelve minutes needed to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Others who competed in the marathon are as follows: Michael Vandeveer, 4:17:18; Andrew Condie, 4:19:48; Mohammed Sabbagh, 4:19:54; Nancy Haddash, 4:32:22; Melissah Carrera, 4:41:19; Anna Hessong, 4:49:45; John Hyak, 4:59:57; Jennifer Yarbrough, 5:16:21; Keith Schaefer, 5:16:22; Angela Schaefer, 5:16:21.

There were 26 local runners who competed in the Houston half-marathon. Chris Wagner was there to compete in his first half-marathon, after mostly competing in 5K's and 10K's over the past few years, "My goal was to go under two hours and I beat that goal by 17 seconds. I'm very excited!"

I asked him if it was difficult considering most of his races up to this point had been shorter, "I did lots of training with my VARRA (Victoria area road runners) buddies, Ruby, Melissa, Will, Brenda, and Ramona and that helped."

The congestion at the beginning also slowed him down and at mile 10 he began picking up the pace considerably to break the two-hour barrier. "I'm definitely going to run another!"

Here are the other runners in the half-marathon: Ana Carroll, 1:47:18; Tom Curtis, 1:53:26; Michael Thigpen, 1:59:34; Chris Wagner, 1:59:43; Dorothy Rusch, 2:00:07 (4th in 60-64 age division); Kevin John, 2:01:31; Ramona Alvarado, 2:03:18; Ruby Alvarez, 2:06:03; Doreen Simmang, 2:08:18; Mary Owen, 2:12:41; Jessica VanBaak, 2:13:04; Cheryl McCullough, 2:13:18 (9th 60-64 age division); Tracy Hefley, 2:17:15; Johnna Gohmert, 2:18:26; Shannon Jones, 2:20:56; Kristin Billo, 2:21:21; Megan Doehrmann, 2:23:32; Ricky Servantes, 2:28:15; DeAna Helmer, 2:31:39; Mary Pat Williamson, 2:34:00; Will Farley, 2:37:15; Brenda Gohmert, 2:38:16; Manuel Alvarado, 2:41:45; Chrissy Wagner, 2:45:05; Chuck Howard, 2:47:57; Nancy Melton, 2:52:35. Two area runners competed in the 5K: Kim Powers, 32:21; Janis Griffith, 1:05:26.

AUSTIN 3M HALF-MARATHON

There were 1,100 finishers in the Austin 3M half-marathon over the weekend, with 728 men and 372 women.

Seven local runners competed as well with Paul Rozsypal finishing as the top area male runner and Denise Tomanek finishing as the top area female.

Five of the runners finished within a two-minute time span of one another. Here are the results: Paul Rozsypal, 1:42:06; Edward Pine, 1:42:43; Denise Tomanek, 1:43:08; John Cuellar, 1:43:51; Mark Cooke, 1:44:28; Megan Obsta, 1:57:38; Cynthia Ramos, 2:20:25.

Congratulations to all our area runners!

Missy Janzow owns Fit4U, a personalized training and nutrition service. You can reach her by e-mail at janzowml@yahoo.com or online at www.fit4uvictoria.com.

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