By Carla Branch
This morning, the inaugural Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon that almost didn’t come through Alexandria was run and was a success. Four thousand runners registered and 3200 finished the 13.1-mile USATF-certified course.
Under cloudless blue skies and in bright sunshine, the runners started at Mt. Vernon at 7:30 a.m. The course took them north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, from Port Aveccio in Alexandria onto the Woodrow Wilson pedestrian path, across the bridge and through National Harbor. The first runners got to the bridge at 8:14, with a large pack arriving at 8:30.
Deresse Deniboba won with a time of 1:04:44, defeating the favorite, Tesfaye Senduku, by two seconds. The third runner to cross the finish line was Isaac Birir, with a time of 1:05:47. Two-time Olympic silver medalist Catherine Ndereba, from Kenya, was the first woman finisher with a time of 1:13:17. She was followed by Aliya Aziza, at 1:13:30 and Alemtsehay Misganaw at 1:13:32. They finished 10th, 11th and 12th over all.
The first American male finisher was Michael Wardian, from Arlington , who finished seventh over all with a time of 1:08:52. The first Alexandria male finisher was Jared Campbell, who finished in ninth place with a time of 1:13:11. Alexandrian Laura O’Hara was the first American female finisher with a time of 1:19:35. The race served as Potomac Valley Association of USA Track & Field’s half marathon championship and as USABA (United States Association for Blind Athletes) inaugural national half marathon championship. Those results were not yet available.
The race was founded by Steve Nearman of Endurance Enterprises LLC managed by Kathy Dalby of Pacers Events. A portion of each runner’s registration fee benefited six local charities partners, who each received $5,000. The charities are the American Heart Association, Autism Speaks, Alice Ferguson Foundation, Child & Family Network Centers of Alexandria, Washington Area Women’s Foundation and Back on My Feet – DC.
The tentative date next for year’s half marathon is Oct. 2, 2011.