Lynchburg - Perfect race conditions, overcast and cool, greeted runners in the 39th Virginia 10 Miler.
85-year-old Bill Draper sounded the starting horn, Draper the only runner to complete all 39 10 Milers. In one of the most talented fields in 20 years, the leaders ran the first mile in four minutes, 31 seconds. That lead pack of 20, though, shrunk to two Kenyans less than four miles in. Julius Kogo in the green and Julius Kibet in white. They stayed fairly close until Kogo put him away on Farm Basket Hill. Kogo wins in a fast 47 minutes, 47 seconds. Kibet finished 33 seconds back with Raleigh's Bobby Mack a strong third.
Bobby Mack, THIRD-PLACE FINISHER (48:30), said "Every year the last two miles I would lose so much time coming up the hills and this year I finally got the up hills right."
Donnie Cowart, FORMER RUSTBURG, VMI RUNNER, said "I do really enjoy it, I mean the energy and the fans and they have the music going. It's a great environment with live bands on the route."
Kenya's Hellen Jemutai won the women's title with a time of 55:51. Front Royal, Virginia's Emily Harrison was runner-up, just four seconds back.
Emily Harrison, SECOND-PLACE WOMEN'S FINISHER - "She was in sight so she was right in front of me. But I just didn't have enough ummph to get by her."
Dennis - And for most, that first 10 Miler can really be a bear. Not so for 13-year-old L.C.A. student Charles Ranson.
Charles Ranson, who ran 64:40 in his first 10 Miler, said "It was fine, I mean you've just got to run through the whole thing. And it wasn't really that hard."
Race Director Jeff Fedorko feels the 10 Miler took a giant leap forward this year and he's already talking about big plans for the 40th anniversary next year.