Colorado runner sets new Other Half course record
by Steve Kadel
staff writer
Oct 25, 2012 | 1759 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kenyon Neuman of Boulder, Colo., catches his breath just past the finish line on Sunday after winning The Other Half half-marathon in course record time. Photo by Steve Kadel
Kenyon Neuman of Boulder, Colo., catches his breath just past the finish line on Sunday after winning The Other Half half-marathon in course record time. Photo by Steve Kadel
Kenyon Neuman of Boulder, Colo., overcame a strong headwind to win Sunday’s The Other Half race in course record time, beating his closest challenger by almost 11 minutes.

Neuman’s time of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 9 seconds broke the previous record of 1:09:50 set by Paul Peterson in 2009.

Sarah Cumber of Halifax, Yorkshire, England, won the women’s race in 1:26:48.

“It’s a beautiful course, but it was tougher than I expected,” said Neuman, 25.

The winner said he’d always wanted to visit Moab, so his girlfriend and two of her friends made the six-hour trip.

He told race officials before the 13.1-mile event that he hoped to break the record. Neuman was on a particularly blistering pace until hitting some hills at the eight-mile mark.

Race director Ranna Bieschke called it an outstanding performance, especially considering the weather.

“There was a lot of wind,” she said. “It’s pretty impressive considering the wind and the hills.”

Several racers commented on the scenic race course, including women’s winner Cumber.

“What a difficult and beautiful course,” she said while catching her breath just past the finish line. “It is absolutely gorgeous, but I feel about 100. I can hardly speak.”

Marty Wacker of Grand Junction, Colo., placed second in the men’s race in 1:20:25. Marissa Floodman of Salt Lake City was second among women with a time of 1:32:02, and said watching the beautiful surroundings helped her click off the miles.

The ninth annual half-marathon began at Dewey Bridge on state Route 128 and ended at Sorrel River Ranch. Racers celebrated on a grassy area next to the Colorado River after finishing, enjoying snacks and complementary beverages from Gatorade and Moab Brewery. A bluegrass band from Albuquerque, N.M., played while everyone soaked up the sun and recounted their experience.

“I come to all of these races,” said Robin Blankenbaker of Flagstaff, Ariz. “I love Moab and these are the best organized races anywhere.”

“It’s so well organized and supported,” agreed Mike Baker of Syracuse, Utah.

Blanding resident Lisa Booth was running her second The Other Half. She was lured back because of “the scenic course, it’s a small field [of entrants] and you get beer at the end,” she said.

Thirty-six-year-old Shelly Wilson of Dallas, Texas, was a first-time participant, but said would come again and bring her two children. She drove 16 hours one way for the race.

A racer from Salt Lake City came with friends but didn’t see them during the run.

“I got roped into this by my co-workers and then they bailed on me,” said Amy Holgate. “One backed out and the other two decided to run and walk.”

Holgate’s goal was to run the entire way, which she did.

“The landscape is so inspiring,” she said of the course.

Jeremy Smith of West Jordan had a goal, too, but it wasn’t the normal kind.

“I knew I wasn’t going to run my best time so my goal was to be the first to finish five beers,” he said of the five free pints each racer was allocated, if they wanted that much.

Smith was enjoying his fifth glass exactly 2 hours and 2 minutes after leaving the starting line.

“I checked with the beer servers and I am the first person to get their fifth beer,” he said proudly. “I’m stoked.”

Smith provoked smiles during the race by wearing a shirt that said “Beer Me” on the front and “Will Run For Beer” on the back.

Vic Bruno, who was born and raised in Italy but now lives in Moab, had a more serious theme. He and friends wore headbands declaring, “I Run 4 Autism.”

With his autistic son Andrea, 5, in his arms, Bruno said he wants to educate people about autism.

“I want this little guy to be fully integrated into society,” he said as the boy played with his father’s finishing medal. “The gift of autism is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

They waited by the finishing chute for Anna – Andrea’s mother – to finish her race.

The top male finisher in the masters division was Kevin O’Brien, 54, of Paonia, Colo., and the top masters woman was Michelle Campbell, 41, of Riverton. They posted times of 1:26:45 and 1:34:01, respectively. The masters division is for those ages 40 and older.

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