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Sunday, April 2, 2000 -- Athens, OH
Athens Marathon & 1/2 Marathon
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Details] [Coverage]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
Results: [1/2 Overall] [1/2 by Class] [Marathon Overall] [by Class]

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A wet start for the Athens Marathon on Sunday
The 33rd Athens Marathon & 10th Annual Half Marathon got off to a wet start on April 2nd at Ohio University. April showers may bring May flowers, but it brought buckets upon buckets of rain to Athens, Ohio on Sunday. The cobblestone streets, and dogwood lined bike trail of the town was set for the course, starting runners & walkers in the middle of town. The Hockhocking-Adena Bike trail was a very flat course for the participants in the Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.

Looking at the hundreds of people lined up under the gray skies, one has to wonder why so many folks feel the urge to run so far, and hurt for so long afterwards. For many it's a goal, for some it's a training course, and for others, it's just because they love to do it.

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John B. Huttunen breezes past the dogwoods on the OU Campus
The rain was relentless after the start, proving to be a burden, and making running clothes heavy. It was clear that this race, although very flat, was going to be no easy trek. The elements can take their toll on a body and mind, and staying focused seems to be the hardest feat of it all. Many remained strong to the finish, and some even found the strength to muster up a smile or two. This event was truly a test for many runners and walkers.

The first person to reach the finish line completing the 1/2 Marathon was John Dorsch of Toledo, OH. Finishing with an excellent time of 1 hour and 11 minutes, Dorsch took home the the 1st place Overall trophy. The top spots for 2nd & 3rd were also taken by Ohio natives. Josh Ritchie (1.11:40) and Thomas Stickle(1.13:42), were the next runners to receive awards at the finish for the 1/2 Marathon.

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Pol Dekeirel from Belgium eases his way to the finish
Two of the women who finished first in the 1/2 Marathon were from Ohio. Melissa Converse(1.24:43), ran away with 1st, and Stephanie Agosta, a mere 7 seconds behind Converse, finished 2nd with a time of (1.24:43). Julie M. Rathbone(1.34:37), from Parkersburg,WV and the top woman finisher in the 1999 Will E. Long 5K took 3rd.

In the race for 1st in the Marathon, it was none other than Pol Dekeirel from Belgium who finished first Overall with over a 7 minute lead and a time of 2.46:06. Daniel Dudek(2.54:49), of Tallmadge, OH finished 2nd Overall, and Harold K. Edwards(2.55:49), of Athens finished 3rd respectively.

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Grinning and bearing the cold spring rain
The race for the women's top spot was even more spread out. Annette Bauer of Ohio, finished the Marathon an incredible 7th place Overall and as the 1st place woman in 3 hours 8 minutes, and 15 seconds. Taking 9th Overall and 2nd for the women was Vikki McKane(3.17:47), of Albany, NY. Also a native of Ohio, Cassandra Mccune took 15th Overall and the women's 3rd top spot with a time of 3.28:42.

This event has been a part of the Athens community for many years. Some runners had a self-less reason to be out there.

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Timothy Rupe gives the victory sign just before the line!
A Marathon volunteer, Chris Allwine, is a coach for the Leukemia Society of America Team. Their whole team was running in the race and training for future races for a special purpose. Each runner raises money for a particular patient with each race. Over 26,000 runners, walkers and cyclists participate in the world's major marathons and centuries this year on behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In the past year alone, Team in Training has raised millions of dollars towards finding cures for leukemia.

Good luck to all in your next marathon and we'll see you next year!


Special Thanks: Goes out to race director, Arnie LaGraff, race helpers Lora Munsell & Chris Allwine, and the sponsors who made this event possible.