The 35th annual Sentara Colonial Half Marathon returns this Sunday, starting at 1:10 p.m. at Barksdale Field on Jamestown Road, with an out-and-back course on the Carter's Grove Country Road and a loop through Kingsmill and the Busch Corporate Center, before returning to campus and a finish inside Kaplan Arena/William and Mary Hall. There will be $2,000 in prize money, with $500-300-200 going to the top three men and women overall.
There will be a field of over 1,100 runners in the featured 13.1-mile race and accompanying 5K on-campus run that begins at 1:00 p.m. from the same starting line. There will also be a fun run around William and Mary Hall, beginning at 1:50 p.m.
Race day registration for the half marathon ($65) will be accepted Sunday morning at W&M Hall, as well as for the 5K ($40) and the fun run ($5), between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. All late registration, race number and T-shirt pickup, as well as a race health and fitness expo will take place Sunday morning inside Kaplan Arena, with parking at the W&M Hall parking lot and on campus. The expo goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The race will be chip timed by Colonial Sports Timing.
There will be traffic restrictions during the race time (between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.), especially on Jamestown Road at Griffin Avenue, and on Newport Avenue at South Henry Street and South Boundary Street, as well as throughout the W&M campus. Jamestown Road will be closed between Landrum Drive and Ukrop Way from 12:55 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., and again from about 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., and traffic will be redirected. Ukrop Way on campus will be one direction only from Jamestown Road to Compton Drive, and also be blocked around William and Mary Hall between Brooks and Compton. The scenic half marathon course is famous for its challenging terrain, with countless hills.
This year's competitive race will be the traditional combination of ex-William and Mary runners returning to town to compete with a handful of international runners and Hampton Roads elite. In addition, there is a strong contingent of Masters (ages 40-and-over) runners vying for the Masters titles.
The W&M quartet are Richard "Skeeter" Morris, 26, of Burkeville (3rd at last October's Marine Corps Marathon in 2:24:02), Jimmy Picard, 28, of Richmond, Adam Otstot, 31 of Williamsburg (2:27:03 at last November's Richmond Marathon and the winner of October's Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon in 1:11:26) and David Hryvniak, 29, of Charlottesville. Otstot, the local favorite, is a physical education teacher at Rawls Byrd Elementary, a four-time winner of the Sentara Sleighbell 5K, and a national-class triathlete. Hryvniak has been in the top five overall three times at Colonial, and was seventh last year, with Picard eighth.
The top four women are two Southside runners, Kristin Lawrence, 34, of Virginia Beach (1:20:08 at Shamrock Half Marathon and 2:47:10 at Philadelphia Marathon in 2013) and Morgan Denecke, 23, of Norfolk (2:54:15 at 2013 Richmond Marathon), along with Ethiopian Tezata Dengersa (2nd last year in 1:21:00, and 2:38 for the marathon and 1:17 for the half) and Kenyan Joan Tangwar (1:16 for half marathon).
For the men, the international field includes two Ethiopians from the Washington, DC area—Baisa Moleta, 25 (28:34 for 10K), and Ayele Kassaye, 25 (2:18 marathon and 1:06 half marathon), along with two Kenyans from Chapel Hill, NC—Kimutai Cheruiyot, 28 (1st at 2014 Austin Half Marathon in 1:04:59), and Kiprono Kurgat, 25 (1:04:01 at Naples Half Marathon in 2014).
The top three Masters (ages 40-and-over) runners return from last year—five time Masters winner John Piggott, 48, of Williamsburg (first last year in 1:19:24), Tim Schuler, 50, of Chambersburg, PA (2nd last year in 1:20:45) and Greg Cauller, 54, of York, PA (3rd last year in 1:22:27), and will be joined by Todd Bibb, 41, of Virginia Beach and Chris Monheim, 45, of Chambersburg, PA. For the women, the top two Masters are Williamsburg's Jennifer Quarles, 41 (2nd last year in 1:35:19), and Laura Shannon, 51 (3rd last year in 1:35:50).
Shannon was second overall (1:29:59) and Quarles fourth overall (1:31:44) in the 2010 Colonial Half. Quarles also won the 2012 Run for the Dream Half Marathon in Williamsburg.
Sentara Healthcare is the title sponsor for the third year, replacing long-time sponsor Anheuser-Busch (whose beer will still be served after the race). Also W&M head track coach Stephen Walsh is race director for the three year, with Meagan Bedsaul the race coordinator through the W&M Special Events Department. For the half marathon tech shirts will again be given to all entrants, and there will be special finisher medallions for all.