Kenyan Abraham Kogo, left, streaked through the 26.2-mile Albany Marathon course Saturday in 2:34:34 to win the 8th annual event. Fellow Kenyan Wesley Ochoro, right, finished second. Luidmila Stepanova, a 30-year-old Russian, won the women’s division with a time of 2:38:45. (Staff photo: Jim West)
2014 Albany Marathon
Scene from the 2014 Albany Marathon and Half-Marathon Powered by Snickers. This was the 8th annual event and a qualifier for the Boston Marathon later this spring.
ALBANY — After two years of miserable weather that included rain, wind, bitter cold, possible flooding and wailing tornado warning sirens, the 8th annual Albany Marathon Powered by Snickers was due for a break.
Albany Marathon and Half-Marathon 2014
A nearly perfect Saturday morning greeted about 1,500 runners who participated Saturday in the 2014 edition of the Albany Marathon and Half-Marathon Powered by Snickers. The 8th annual event is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon later this spring. (Photos by Terry Lewis, Brad McEwen and Jim West)
The event got that break Saturday. Running in “chamber of commerce”-like conditions Saturday morning, Kenyan Abraham Kogo streaked through the 26.2-mile course in 2:34:34 to win the 2014 Albany Marathon. Fellow Kenyan Wesley Ochoro finished second with a time of 2:35:48, while Tim Hawkins of Kennesaw was third at 2:48:16
Albany Marathon has tie to Atlanta runner's experience in 2013 Boston Marathon.
Luidmila Stepanova, a 30-year-old Russian, won the women’s division with a time of 2:38:45. McKenzie Howe of Athens was second at 2:43:34 while Bridget Lyons of Augusta was third with a time of 2:44:12
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Kogo, Ochoro and Stepanova all train at the same facility in Hebron, Ky.
“This is a good course,” Kogo said. “It is a good, flat training course and the weather was excellent.
“My time was not as good as I had hoped for because I did not get to train much because of an injury. I like the course, but it was difficult because there was no pack to push, so we could not push together. Running alone is hard because you cannot tell how fast is the pace.”
Kogo said he’d like to return for the 9th edition in 2015.
“I hope I can come back next year when I am in good shape,” he said, “and think I would turn in a much better time.”
Andy Bolstad, of Phenix City, Ala., was worn out — but ecstatic that his time of 3:02:55 was good enough for a 20th-place finish and to qualify him for the Boston Marathon.
“This is my second time to run here. The first time the weather was not good,” Bolstad said. “I’m really happy that I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon on my fifth try. The course was flat and good. I also like the support from the people lining the course. It was a good run and I’ll be back next year.”
Kenneth Ebener’s time of 3:10:27 was also good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon
“The weather was very good and I got the time I wanted,” Ebener, of West Columbia, S.C., said. “I qualified for my fifth Boston Marathon, which is cool.
“There seemed to be more people on the course this year, which is always a plus. I really enjoyed myself today and am definitely coming back next year.”
In the 13.1-mile half-marathon, Austin Duckworth, of Vestevia Hills, Ala., was the overall winner with a time of 1:10:33. Brian Morenus, of Ft. Rucker, Ala., was second at 1:12:18, and Winston Rhineholt, of Montreat, N.C., was third after posting a time of 1:13:23
In the women’s division, Elena Linn, of Vestavia Hills, Ala., won the half-marathon with a time of 1:19:16, while Kate Papenburg, of Syracuse, Utah, was second at 1:20:29, and Patricia Coppel, of Atlanta, was third at 1:28:26.
Cynthia Morrall of Albany was running in her second half-marathon and said she enjoyed the day.
“It was very beautiful today, plus I lowered my time from my first half-marathon from 3:40 to 2:30 today,” she said. “It was really nice with all the people cheering us on along the way. That was very encouraging.”
Best friends Lindsay Wright and Whittnye Barksdale, both of Sylvester, who began training in December to run in the first half-marathon, weren’t concerned about their times.
“It was awesome. We’ve been training together since December and really had to talk to each other around mile 11,” Wright said. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
“We weren’t really worried about times. We just wanted to experience the accomplishment of finishing,” Barksdale said.
For the curious, the two friends crossed the finish line together with identical times of 2:26:42.
The event attracted nearly 1,500 runners from 40 states, with 578 participants running in the full marathon.