Runners from the Williamsburg area, graduates of William and Mary and the race winners from the recent Colonial Half Marathon had an outsized impact on the fourth annual Newport News One City Marathon and Maritime 8K, held March 4 on courses that finished at the Victory Arch in downtown Newport News.
Will Christian, 34, of Norfolk parlayed his second win at the Colonial Half Marathon (1:10:27 Feb. 25) into his first marathon win, a course record 2:22:05, smashing the previous course record of 2:25:25 by 2016 race winner Bryan Morseman of Bath, New York, and also much faster than the 2017 winning time of 2:25:52 by Christopher Zablocki of Essex, Connecticut. The competition this year was the best ever, as runner-up Ethan Coffey, 35, of Knoxville, Tennessee, (2:23:58) and Matt Cheney, 25, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, (2:25:42) were close behind.
For the women, another course record was smashed, the 2:52:00 by former Williamsburg resident Greta Sieve in winning the 2017 marathon. Alexandra Niles, 34, of Montclair, New Jersey, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon (2:45 is the standard) with a course record time of 2:40:43, but barely won the race over Marie-Ange Brumelot of Brooklyn, in 2:40:50. Shawanna White, 38, of Columbia, South Carolina, was third in 2:45:19, also well under the previous record.
In the Masters categories (ages 40-and-over), frequent Colonial Half competitor Michael Wardian, 43, of Arlington was first in 2:34:23 (sixth overall). For the female Masters, the winner was former William and Mary standout Marcy (Homan) Heil, 44, of West Chester, Pennslyvania, in 3:12:05, followed by two Williamsburg runners — Trish Rice, 52 (3:26:41) and Denise Littman, 40 (3:31:42).
Heil, a 1995 graduate, had an outstanding career at W&M, and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. She won the Penn Relays 5,000 meters in a school record 16:04.63, was a five-time All-American, was the CAA Athlete of the Year twice in cross country, was the Tribe Club Female Athlete of the Year, placed as high as third in the NCAA outdoor 5,000 meters, was 11th (1993) and 10th (1994) in the NCAA cross country championships, and had PRs of 4:47.19 (mile) and 4:25.61 (1,500 meters). Heil, a mother of four, kept running but didn’t compete for years, but she has made a comeback as a Masters runner. One City was her third marathon and PR, but her first in five years (her previous was Boston 2013, the year of the bombing). She has Masters PRs of 18:17 (5K), 1:03:10 (first Masters at the Broad Street Run 10 Miler in Philadelphia) and 1:26:55 (first Masters at the Philadelphia Half Marathon).
Andrew Osborne, 24, of Yorktown made a successful debut in the marathon, breaking 2:40 in his first attempt at the challenging 26.2 mile distance, placing seventh overall in 2:39:43. On an age graded basis, Christian was one of eleven over the national-class level of 80% with an 86.78%, followed by Coffey (85.84%), Niles (84.66%), Cheney (84.39%), Brumelot (84.20%), Wardian (83.79%) and White (83.52%). Wayne Parfitt, 52, of Newport News (2:56:35) was the top age-graded Peninsula runner (79.07%), while close behind were Osborne (76.99%) and Rice (76.40%).
In the Maritime 8K a “Kenyon” won the race, but not a “Kenyan” from the African distance power Kenya. This was Garrett Kenyon, 23, of Colorado Springs, a U.S. citizen and 2017 graduate of Creighton, who won in 24:54. His teammate Maddie Ivy, 22, of Golden, Colorado, both competing for “Team House Theory” of upstate New York, won the women’s 8K in a PR 29:09. The two have been on a tour of the South and East, racing every weekend since mid-January, in eight states. Kenyon had set a school record 23:48 for 8K at Creighton. Ivy ran a PR 16:52 for a recent 5K in St. Augustine, Florida, along with a 1:23:01 half marathon.
After Kenyon, the next two overall men were W&M graduates Charlie Hurt, 34, of Charlottesville (25:36) and Adam Otstot, 35, of Williamsburg (26:03). For Hurt, a 2005 W&M grad, it was his first race of the year. Last fall he ran a 2:21:46 at the Monumental Marathon in Indiana. Otstot the previous Sunday was second to Christian in the Colonial Half Marathon.
For the women, trailing Ivy were Ann Mazur, 32, of Charlottesville (29:43) and Sara Lasker, 27, of Richmond (29:50). Mazur won the Colonial Half Marathon the previous Sunday in 1:23:25. Lasker is another W&M track and cross country grad.
In the Masters 8K, Williamsburg runners swept the men’s top three, with Mark Tompkins, 42, first in 27:41, followed by John Piggott, 52, second in 30:33 and Greg Dawson, 52, a couple steps behind for third in 30:35. For the women Masters, Carolyn Harrison, 61, of Virginia Beach won in 37:16, with Rose Crist, 63, of Lanexa third in 38:07.
To attract its most competitive field ever, the race offered a total of $6,100 in prize money, $4,700 in the marathon and $1,400 in the 8K. The marathon had $1,000-$500-$250 go to the top three men and women overall, and $250-$200-$150 to the top three Masters men and women. In the 8K prize money went three deep in the overall category ($250-$200-$150), and one deep in the Masters category ($100), for men and women.
There were more than 2,300 pre-registered runners in all the events, with 353 individual finishers in the marathon, 148 marathon relay teams (either 2-person, 3-person or 4-person teams), and 469 finishers in the 8K, along with a huge number in the Nautical Mile.
Age graded, there were 10 runners over the national-class 80% level in the 8K, including Kenyon (85.11%), Hurt (83.58%), Crist (83.56%), Harrison (83.24%), fourth place Brian Shelton, 39, of Virginia Beach (26:31, 82.85%), Ivy (82.43%), Otstot (82.43%), Tompkins (81.16%), Mazur (80.97%) and Lasker (80.59%). Just missing the 80% standard were Piggott (79.64%) and Dawson (79.57%).
In Williamsburg Saturday morning, the inaugural Run for the Dragon 8K, timed and organized by Jim Elder of Colonial Sports went off. Up-and-coming Logan St. John, 23, of Williamsburg won his first road race, timed in 31:10 for the 4.97-mile course that was entirely within New Town. Second and third for the men were Paul Pelletier, 52, of Williamsburg (31:53) and Patrick Waller, 23, of Williamsburg (34:12).
The top three women were Rachel Wheeler-Northup, 42, of Richmond (31:21), the second runner across the finish line, followed by Ashley Bruce, 23, of Yorktown (36:49) and Kelly Miller, 37, of Williamsburg (37:37). Jason Miller, 40, of Williamsburg (pushing his two kids in stroller) won the Masters men title in 34:53, while Norma Phillips, 57, of Williamsburg won the Masters women title in 43:04. There were 106 finishers in the 8K.
Platt is president of Colonial Road Runners.