Tanzania’s John Yuda cruises to his first victory
GREEN BAY - A record-breaking 16,746 people registered for the 33rd annual Bellin Run held earlier today in Green Bay, a race won by John Yuda of Tanzania, last year’s second-place finisher. Yuda’s official win time was 28:05.
Four-time champion John Korir was unable to defend his title, finishing at 2nd with a time of 30:13. Brian Sell of Woodbury, Penn., placed 3rd at 30:15.
Bellin Run newcomer Magdalena Lewy-Boulet of Oakland, Calif., sprinted past defending women’s champion Millicent Gathoni of Kenya on the home stretch, capturing her first championship in the women’s division. Her time was 33:14. Gathoni’s time was 33:16. Jane Gakunyi of Kenya, another Bellin Run newcomer, placed 3rd at 33:40.
The race set a record for total registrants for the fifth straight year, outpacing last year’s total by 1,597 people, for a grand total of 16,746 participants in 2009. The total includes all runners, walkers, wheelchair and hand cycle racers and children’s run participants.
Yuda crossed the finish line about two minutes before any other competitors were in sight. Finally, defending champion Korir rounded the corner of Porlier Street and sprinted to the finish. Ed Eyestone remains the only five-time Bellin Run champion.
Joseph Kimani holds the men’s course record with a time of 27:46 set in 1997.
For Yuda, Saturday’s win proved satisfying, especially after having come up short by mere seconds in four past races, including the 0.45 second nail biter between he and Korir in 2008.
Luke Humphrey of Sidney, Mich., finished 4th with a time of 30:21, followed by Edward Kimosop of Kenya (30:36) to round out the top five men’s finishers. The top local men’s finishers were Tyler Sigl of Seymour, 6th place, 31:05; Jason Ryf of Oshkosh, 7th place, 31:24; Jeff Pentek of Sheboygan, 9th place, 31:33; and Matthew Mroczynski of Pulaski, 10th place, 31:39. Dan Held of Pewaukee, the 1996 Bellin Run winner, placed 27th overall with a time of 33:44.
In the women’s race, Gathoni looked to have locked up first place until a last second burst by Lewy-Boulet who took the No. 1 spot in the women’s division with a time of 33:14. Gathoni, last year’s women’s division champion, finished 2nd with a time of 33:16. Gakunyi placed 3rd at 33:40.
Olympian Constantina Dita, a Bellin Run newcomer, placed 4th at 34:40. Bellin Run veteran, Joan Samuelson rounded out the top five finishers with a time of 36:13.
Top local women’s finishers were Jenny Scherer of Delevan, who placed 7th with a time of 36:58; and Krista Cornelius of Green Bay, who placed 12th with a time of 38:18.
Tegla Laroupe holds the women’s course record with a time of 31:48 set in 1999.
Other elite runners invited by the Bellin Run had the following times:
· Bill Rodgers, Boston, Mass., 45:03, 5th in the 60-64 age division
· Kyle O’Brien, Danville, Ill., 31:27, 8th place overall
· Uta Pippig, Boulder, Colo., 42:48, 4th in the 40-44 age division
Weather conditions were near perfect for the start of the 8 a.m. race with partly sunny skies and a temperature of around 54 degrees. Temperatures were around 72 degrees at the 10:30 a.m. award ceremony with 6 mph winds.