Under sunny skies on Saturday morning, over 3,000 runners and walkers participated in the 39th Annual Virginia 10 Miler.
1291 finished the 10 Miler, 1113 finished the 4 Mile Run and 727 finished the 4 Mile Walk. When added to the nearly 800 children who ran in the Amazing Mile Children’s Runs on Friday evening, this year’s field of participants was the largest in race history.
Before the race began, runners and fans milled about the grounds of E.C. Glass High School, visiting booths set up by race sponsors including Genworth, Areva, Centra, Liberty University and others.
Runners and walkers were called to line up by their pace before some individual runners and groups were recognized by race director Jeff Fedorko.
The field of elite runners was welcomed and their accomplishments outlined. That field included Julius Kogo, winner of the 2009 Virginia 10 Miler.
Last year, Kogo was running far ahead of the field of runners before missing a turn in Riverside Park and being disqualified.
Also honored was Bill Draper, the only runner who had participated in all 38 previous Virginia 10 Miler events.
Mayor Mike Gillette offered opening remarks, thanking the runners for participating. Gillette also mentioned two Lynchburg initiatives: the 100 Mile Challenge and Live Healthy Lynchburg.
These programs invite all Lynchburg residents to live a healthier lifestyle. You can read more about these initiatives and join in the group at the Live Healthy Lynchburg website.
A group from the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra provided background music including the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before the event began.
The running color guard moved to the back of the field of runners following the National Anthem and the race began on time at 8 a.m.
At the first mile mark, there was a field of about 10 runners with a time of 4:31. Julius Kogo was leading the pack of 10.
By the 5 mile mark, two runners had pulled ahead of the group of 10: Kogo and Julius Koskei Kibet, who eventually finished in first and second places.
Kogo avenged last year’s results by winning the 10 Miler with his personal best time with a time of 47:48. Koskei Kibet finished with a time of 48:22.
The top female runner was Hellen Jemutai with a time of 55:51, followed by Emily Harrison, who finished in second place with a time of 55:55. Jemutai and Harrison finished in 27th and 28th places overall.
You can see full results for the Virginia 10 Miler, the 4 Mile Run, 4 Mile Walk, and the Amazing Mile Children’s Run at the race website.
In the end, there can only be one overall winner. But the race was about more than winners. The individuals who made up the field of runners and walkers tell the rest of the story.
10 runners finished in less than 50 minutes, a huge accomplishment. Seven local runners finished in the top 50 and 33 in the top 100.
Donnie Cowart from Rustburg led the local runners with a time of 51:59 to come in 17th place. Cowart was fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the steeplechase over the summer.
Riverside Runners hosted a team of local runners including Darrell Wargo, competing in his 12th Virginia 10 Miler. Wargo, who won last week’s Rachael’s Paws & Purrs 10K, finished in 98th place.
Bob Foster posed before the race, his 20th Virginia 10 Miler. There were runners from many local schools, including a group from James River Day School and runners from Randolph College, who posed for a picture before the race.
Congratulations to all who participated in the 39th Annual Virginia 10 Miler. Take the day off today because you deserve it. Tomorrow is soon enough to start training for next year’s event.