Hundreds of people cheered on 2,500 runners as they competed Saturday morning in the annual Murfreesboro Half Marathon.
Justus David (left) edges out Daniel Kirwa in the men's division of The Middle Half held Oct. 13, 2012, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/ B. Mailey)
Racers from more than 25 states ran their way down Main Street, circled around downtown Murfreesboro, and came back up Middle Tennessee Boulevard to cross the finish line at the Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium at Middle Tennessee State University.
Two members of the Blue Raider community enjoyed top finishes in the men’s division.
In first place, Murfreesboro resident Justus David finished the 13.1-mile race in 1 hour, 6 minutes, 38 seconds.
“This was my first time I ran The Middle Half course, so I’m happy with my performance,” said David, an MTSU senior majoring in accounting. “It was wonderful. The public was very friendly to all of us – cheering us on throughout the race.”
David edged out the win over good friend Daniel Kirwa from Searcy, Ark., by just 1 second.
“I’m proud of my friend,” said Kirwa, who finished at 1:06:39 in second place.
Even though the Harding University alumnus placed second, Kirwa still beat his time from last year. In 2011, Kirwa won first place in the men’s division, finishing in 1:07:08 seconds.
“I really can’t complain,” he said. “I feel good about my time.”
Murfreesboro resident Festus Chemaoi followed in third place with a time of 1:11:50.
“It was a beautiful course,” said Chemaoi, an MTSU graduate student studying engineering technology. “I ran it last year, and I definitely want to compete next year.”
For the second year in a row, Knoxville resident Matthew Porterfield placed first in the wheelchair division, leading out the pack at 54:22.
After an injury, Porterfield began racing more than 10 years ago when a friend gave him a racing chair. Since then, he has competed in races all over the country.
“This is a great course – very smooth,” said Porterfield, who trimmed off 2:18 from his 2011 finish. “I’m glad to be back.”
This was the first time second place finisher Michael Mills, who is from Covington, Ga., competed in the wheelchair division of The Middle Half. He finished the race just under 1:04, a time he said he hopes to improve on next year.
“I’ll be coming back,” Mills said. “I enjoyed the race, especially because there was a lot of public support for all of us. It was nice seeing people like police officers and cheerleaders – so many from the Murfreesboro community – show their support. ”
Amanda Dunne, who is originally from Columbia, Mo., placed first in the women’s division with a time of 1:18:15, more than 6 minutes faster than the winner from last year’s race.
“I’m very happy with my time,” said Dunne, who recently moved to the area when her husband, Timothy, joined the MTSU College of Business as an assistant professor in the management and marketing department.
“We just moved here, and I’ve always liked to run,” she said. “So, I thought this would be a great way to meet people in the community."
Zamzam Sangau and Jill Horst rounded out the top female runners, finishing at 1:21:03 and 1:21:32, respectively.
One hundred children also participated in the Murph’s Fun Run Start, a 1-mile race that began on Greenland Drive and ended at the Track and Soccer Stadium. Organizers provided free inflatables, face painting and balloon animals, for the children to enjoy as they stayed to cheer on the adults.
“Even though this is the sixth year we have held the marathon, we are always just as excited to see so many people here supporting these athletes,” said Melinda Tate, race director for The Middle Half marathon.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” Tate said, “and we’re already looking forward to next year.”