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Saturday, August 22, 1998 -- Parkersburg
Parkersburg Half-Marathon

[Half-Marathon Results] [2 Mile Fun Run Results]
[Half-Marathon Pictures] [Wheelchair and 2 Mile Fun Run Pictures]

With 15 minutes until the start of the Parkersburg Half Marathon, runners warming up at the starting line were brought to attention by trumpets playing the National Anthem as the flag unfurled from the top of an adjacent building. If those at the starting line didn't have knots in their stomachs by then, this surely did the trick.

At promptly 8:00 am, Saturday the 15th of August, 1998, runners from across the United States set forth on a 13.1 mile race which would decide qualifiers for the World Half Marathon Championship in Zurich, Switzerland to be held in September. The runners followed a group of wheelchair racers who had begun their half marathon five minutes earlier.

The 13.1-mile run began on 5th Street and Camden Avenue. The racecourse looped around downtown Parkersburg, headed out across the Little Kanawa River to South Parkersburg. The course then went around the South Parkersburg for 7.5 miles before crossing back over the river and winding around to complete the required distance. The course was relatively flat with the exception of the bridge crossings and, what surely brought dismay to many runners, a short hill up 13th street, 11.5 miles into the course. Lucky for some, after the 12-mile marker, the course followed a straight, mostly downhill run to the finish, which allowed many of the competitors to "kick it in", and finish strong. Refreshments were plentiful and racers had the opportunity to receive a brief but refreshing massage after finishing the course.

Fans near the start and finish lines received continuous updates on the progress of the leading men and women through a public address announcer and also got to watch the 2 mile fun run which started immediately following the start of the half marathon. Since the course wound back and forth across downtown, enterprising spectators could pick from six separate vantage points.

Support for the runners along the course was awesome with plenty of water stops and cheering fans. Kelly Kazemi, of Hilliard, Ohio, whose husband Mac has not missed the race for six years stated, "This is one of my favorites. I love to run this race because the runners are treated so well."

The day started out with pretty cool temperatures but by midmorning temperatures were heading into the 80's and the Ohio valley humidity was starting to rise. Most runners would worry more about over-hydration from the 18 water stops vying for votes from the runners for "Best Water Stop".

Rod DeHaven of Madison, Wisconsin came across the finish line with a time of 1:03:42 to win the race and, in the process set an American half marathon record. Peter DeLaCerda, John Sence, Todd Reeser and Jonathon Hume, finishing 2nd through 5th respectively, will have the opportunity to join DeHaven in Zurich. Libby Hickman of Fort Collins, Colorado won the women's title with a time of 1:13:30. Shelly Steely took second place earning both Hickman and Steely a ticket to the World Championship.

Those not feeling up to a half marathon were able to participate in the two-mile fun run and still watch most of the race. While the announcer was heard to say that the two-miler represented the real people who run just for health and fun, WVOutside's opinion was that everyone who ran Saturday was a winner.