After the half marathon portion of the race was canceled last year due to icy conditions on the course (the on-campus 5K was held, though), the 38th annual Sentara Colonial Half Marathon returns this Sunday.
The race starts 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 and $200 going to the top-three men and women overall.
There are over 1,080 pre-registered participants, with approximately 800 in the half marathon, 250 in the 5K run (1:00 p.m. start), and 40 in the 1K walk (1:50 p.m. start), and many more are expected to enter race morning, in part thanks to a feature article on the half marathon in the January issue of Runner's World Magazine.
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 8:30 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 inside Kaplan Arena, with parking 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.
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 the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, held two weeks ago in Los Angeles, taking away much of the national-class talent, the competitive race this year has more of a Hampton Roads feel, with the top-five men and the top-two women all from this area. It's likely that there will be a rare win by a U.S. male runner in the race, last done in 1998 and 2012.
The strong men's favorite is Will Christian, 32, of Norfolk and the U.S. Navy, who won both the 2014 (14:43, the all-time Colonial Road Runners age-group record for men 30-34) and 2015 (15:08) Run the D.O.G. Street Challenge 5K, and has a 1:05 half marathon personal record to his credit. Christian was third in the 2013 Colonial Half in 1:09:31, and is capable of running a sub-1:08 Sunday on the hilly course, despite warm temperatures expected to rise from a morning low of 36 to an afternoon high of 66. In 2014 he ran a PR 2:19:13 at the Grandma's Marathon (MN) and a 2:19:36 at the California International Marathon, along with a 1:06:15 at the Outer Banks Half Marathon.
Also in the running for the top-three prize money spots are Rawls Byrd Elementary PE teacher Adam Otstot, 33, of Williamsburg (fourth in 2014 in 1:13:43 under hot conditions, and fourth in 2012 in a PR 1:10:33), Ryan Carroll, 33, of Portsmouth, and Ryan Foster, 33, of Virginia Beach (sixth in 2013 in 1:13:11). Other top 10 prospects include Jeff Casassa, 28, of Virginia Beach (1:13:48 PR) and Roger Hopper, 25, of Williamsburg (the 2015 CRR Grand Prix champion).
For the women, the two favorites are Renee High, 34, of Virginia Beach (a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier) and Octavia Rinehardt, 26, of Virginia Beach. High, with a 1:18 PR, is capable of a 1:20 on Sunday, while Rinehardt is looking for a 1:22. Also top ten material are Kailey Gotta, 28, of Arlington, Jessica Riggs, 38, of Williamsburg and Debbie McLaughlin, 50, of Williamsburg.
Five-time Colonial Half Masters (ages 40-and-over) champion (2006, '07, '08, '12 and '13) John Piggott of Williamsburg returns, but the Lafayette High coach is now 50-years-old. Piggott holds the Kingsmill/Carter's Grove Masters record of 1:15:02 from 2007.
At those recent U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 13, one of the runners seen in the TV coverage was Jon Grey, W&M class of 2011. On his 28th birthday, Grey was 35th of 105 finishers under brutally hot conditions in a time of 2:24:09. Grey has a half marathon best of 1:02:25, a 10,000-meter track best of 27:59.88, and was a 2012 RRCA "Roads Scholar".
Another former William and Mary track runner was in the news recently, as 1988 grad Christopher J. Scalia, the eighth of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's nine children, and the father of two of Scalia's 36 grandchildren, wrote a glowing tribute to his dad, titled "My father, Antonin Scalia" in the Feb. 21 editorial section of the Washington Post.
In the article Chris Scalia wrote, "He was stricter than we would have liked, and I don't mean with his originalism. We could have done without the weekends he made us work in the yard. I once tried to beg off mowing the lawn by pointing out that I had a cross-country meet that weekend. So he did it himself — after reminding me that a Supreme Court justice probably had better things to do, too."
Three days later, a reader from Birmingham, Ala. wrote, in the Post's Letters to the Editor, that her "favorite article about the death of Justice Antonin Scalia was the one written by his son."