Gesabwa, Ward are Bellin Run Champs

Women’s winner again tops own record as 11,070 register for 43rd annual event

Risper Gesabwa set another Bellin Run women’s victory record today, capturing a seventh event title with an 11-second win over 2017 champ Kaitlin Gregg Goodman. On the men’s side, Jared Ward broke the tape, winning the event for the first time after finishing third the last two years.

Gesabwa notched a record-setting five straight victories from 2012 through 2016 before not competing in 2017 and then returning to capture titles this year and last. She broke the tape in 33:23, earning the victory over Gregg Goodman, who finished in 33:34. The win again broke Gesabwa’s own six-victory record for the course. Two women, Kim Merritt and Joan Benoit Samuelson, have won the Bellin Run four times; while two men, Allan Kiprono and John Korir, have won it five times (albeit in non-consecutive years).

For the men, 2016 Olympic marathoner Ward was all alone at the finish, crossing the line in 29:45. His closest competitor, 2018 Bellin Run champ Brendan Gregg, was second in 30:13. A year-plus into his retirement, 2016 Bellin Run champ Meb Keflezighi ran to a 40-44 age group win but did not crack the top 10.
The Bellin Run registered 11,070 participants in its 43rd year, down from 12,050 in 2018. Runners and walkers took to the streets in favorable but warming conditions with temperatures in the mid-60s under sunny skies.

Bellin’s elite athletes were heavily involved in this year’s pre-race activities, participating in the Wednesday Bellin Run training run and Thursday evening Run with Greatness Charity Fun Run, as well as signing autographs during the Friday night Health & Fitness Expo in Astor Park. Their work wasn’t done once they crossed the finish line, as several of them are participating in an afternoon Coaches Clinic at Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. 

Other female athletes invited by the Bellin Run had the following times:
• Joan Samuelson, Maine: 40:22
• Uta Pippig, Colorado: 46:40

Other male athletes invited by the Bellin Run had the following times:
• Meb Keflezighi: 35:48
• Bill Rodgers, Massachusetts: 52:12

The overall course records did not fall. Joseph Kimani retains the men’s course record of 27:46, set in 1997; and Tegla Loroupe holds the women’s course record with a time of 31:48, set in 1999. There were, however, some new age group records set:

• Males ages 65-69 — Joseph Reda: 39:40
• Males ages 70-74 — John Jenk: 45:05

Local and state notables in the female division include Leah Kravlovetz of Denmark (36:24, 4th overall), Maggie Priebe of Green Bay (37:08, 5th overall), Laura Schmitz of Oshkosh (38:03, 6th overall), Sara Rohde of De Pere (39:24, 9th overall) and Megan Gaysunas of Fond du Lac (39:36, 10th overall).

Local and state notables in the male division include Michael Friedman of Menomonie (32:45, 4th overall), Brent Kann of Eau Claire (32:50, 5th overall), Justin Goetz of Marshfield (33:07, 6th overall), Miguel Garcia of Racine (33:20, 7th overall), Ryan Kromer of Green Bay (33:46, 8th overall), Jason Ryf of Oshkosh (33:48, 9th overall) and Luke Kubasta of Oshkosh (34:04, 10th overall).

The Bellin Run’s two largest programs drew nearly 6,000 participants between them. A total of 4,863 individuals from 226 companies participated in this year’s Corporate Challenge, while 1,050 individuals from 61 schools were part of Kids for Running. More than 1,000 people volunteered their time for this year’s event.
Complete Bellin Run results are available through the Bellin Run website at