Western Virginia runners favorites in Colonial Half Marathon

The Sentara Colonial Half Marathon is noted for its challenging and hilly course. Charlottesville is another Virginia city noted for its hilly terrain and its major running events. So it makes sense that the men's and women's race favorites for this Sunday's race, 26-year-old Sean Keveren of Charlottesville and 28-year-old Madeline Duhon of Stanardsville are from the Charlottesville area.

And two of the other leading contenders, former William and Mary runner Andy Goodstein, 25, and last year's runner-up Ann Mazur, 31, are also from Charlottesville.

Although the weather has been unseasonably warm in recent weeks, a cold front will move through the area on Saturday, and Sunday's weather will be perfect for a long distance race, with sunny skies and a high of 57.

The 38th annual Colonial Half Marathon will start at 1:10 p.m. at Barksdale Field, near the intersection of Landrum Drive and 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 the William and Mary campus and a finish inside Kaplan Arena. There will be $2,000 in prize money, with $500-300-200 going to the top three men and women overall.

There were 988 pre-registered entrants in the four scheduled events as of Friday afternoon, with 662 in the featured half marathon, 231 in the 5K run (1:00 p.m. start), 14 in the fun run (1:50 p.m. start), and 81 in the new Sentara OrthoJoint Center 2K walk (12:40 p.m., free for joint replacement patients and coaches).

Many more will enter race morning, with late registration and packet pickup beginning at 8:30 a.m. (closing 12:30 p.m.) inside Kaplan Arena. Race day the half marathon will be $70, the 5K $40, and the fun run $10. There will also be a Sports, Wellness and Hospitality Expo from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., open to the public.

Parking is at the W&M Hall parking lot and on campus. The race, organized by the William and Mary track team and the W&M Special Events office, will be chip-timed by Colonial Sports Timing. The Fife and Drum Corps will lead the runners from Kaplan Arena to the race start at 12:30 p.m.

There will be traffic restrictions during the race time (between 1-3:30 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 12:55-1:15 p.m., and again from about 2:30-3:30 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.

Sean Keveren is the strong men's favorite, as he was an All-American at 10,000 meters for the University of Virginia in 2012, where he had collegiate PRs of 29:31 (10,000 meters), 13:48 (5,000 meters) and 24:13 (8K cross country). He ran a 1:03:25 at the 2016 Houston Half Marathon, and a PR 1:02:52 at the 2015 Houston Half, the U.S. half marathon championship, where he placed ninth. His lifetime PRs on the roads also include a 22:41 at the 2014 Richmond 8K, and a 48:39 at the hilly 2015 Charlottesville 10 Miler.

On the track, his PRs are 4:02.98 (mile), 13:39.26 (5,000 meters) and 29:09 (10,000 meters). After a "baby hangover" (his son was born last August), Keveren said, "I'm fit enough to run at least 65 on a faster course, so maybe 66-67?"

The next group, vying for the second and third prize-money spots, and times of 1:10 or 1:11, will include Zack Schwartz, 28, of Raleigh, N.C. (with a 1:07:17 PR at Hartford in 2014 but with a goal Sunday of 1:10), Andris Goncarovs, 24, of Greensboro, N.C. (who ran a 1:10:58 at the 2016 Savannah Half Marathon), Andy Goodstein of Charlottesville (goal 1:11), and Williamsburg's Adam Otstot, 34, another W&M grad (2nd overall at Colonial in 2016, in 1:12:55, but who ran a PR 1:10:33 at Colonial in 2012). A few minutes behind this group, in the 1:14 range, will be Levi Warring, 22, of Williamsburg, and Ryan Foster, 34, of Virginia Beach.

The strong men's Masters (ages 40-and-over) favorite, and capable of breaking the Kingsmill/Carter's Grove Masters course record of 1:15:02 (by John Piggott of Williamsburg in 2007, when he was age 41) is Charlie Epperson, 40, of Annapolis, who ran a 1:12:49 at the Kiawah Island Half Marathon in December, after turning 40 in October. Piggott, a five-time Masters champion at Colonial, will also be back, but is now age 51.

Madeline Duhon, training for the New York City Half Marathon in March, and the Boston Marathon in April, is the strong women's favorite, having run a 1:17:18 at last October's BAA Half Marathon in Boston, and having a marathon PR of 2:40:07 from the December, 2015 California International Marathon.

Ann Mazur, who was the Colonial Half runner-up last year in 1:26:34, is capable of running in the low 1:20s. Capable of sub-1:30 and top five finishes are W&M senior Jessica Armstrong, 21, of Newport News, and Ayshalynn Perez, 25, Annapolis, Md. Last year's women's Masters runner-up, Sharon Adams, 41, of Reston, will contend for the the women's Masters win this year (after her 1:34:07 in 2016).

The all-time record for the Colonial Half is 1:04:39 by Steve Taylor of Fincastle in 1991, on the old Colonial Parkway course. For the current Kingsmill/Carter's Grove course, the record is 1:05:22 by Azat Rakipov of Belarus in 2005. For the women, the course records are 1:16:08 by Inge Schuurmans of Boulder, CO in 1994 (old course) and 1:15:02 by Anna Pichrtova of Waynesboro and the Czech Republic in 2002 (current course).

The Masters 40-and-over records are 1:10:42 by Tim Dunlap of Lancaster, Pa. in 1977 (old course), and Piggott's 1:15:02 (current course). For the women Masters, the records are 1:19:16 (old course) by Rose Malloy of Annapolis in 1991, and 1:23:40 by Lois Medal, of Toronto in 2000 (current course).

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