Patrick Cheptoek was the winner of the 2013 Middle Half Marathon that took place on Saturday, Oct. 12. Photo courtesy of Clyde Adkison
More than 3,000 of the fastest distance runners from around the world converged to downtown Murfreesboro for the 13th annual The Middle Half Saturday.
Each of them ran 13.1 miles up and down the city limits in almost perfect weather conditions. By the end of the race, three winners were crowned and a new course record was set.
In the women’s division, Nashville resident and Canada native Lanni Marchant destroyed the course record by winning the race in a time of 1:15.52. The previous record was set back in 2010 by Janet Cherobon, who finished her back-to-back wins in a then-record time of 1:17.12.
“I wanted to keep it really controlled because I am doing a marathon next weekend,” Marchant said after she crossed the finish line. “I just wanted to come out and get a good tempo run in.”
Marchant grew up in London, Ontario, and will be heading back there for the Toronto Marathon coming up this weekend. She used the Murfreesboro Half Marathon as a warm-up for that race. Overall, she was happy with the time she set in the victory considering she was hoping for a 1:16.
The overall and men’s winner was former Western Kentucky track athlete and Patrick Cheptoek. who is a Uganda native. He finished the race in a time of 1:06.01. It was not a course record, but he was still excited to pick up the win.
“My performance was good,” Cheptoek said. “It was mainly due to the nice weather. The competition was good, and we had a lot of cheerleaders along the way. It kept me going.”
The wheelchair race, which only had four entries, came down to the very end. Knoxville native Matthew Porterfield (57:05) edged Georgia native Jose Pulido (57:11) by sixth tenths of a second.
“We set out to have some fun and we stayed together for three fourths of the race,” Porterfield said. “Then we kicked it in, and we had fun. It was a good race at the end.”
The weather conditions that day were the best for an event of this distance. Temperatures at the 7 a.m. start were in the 60s, and sun was not a factor. Rain also stayed away during the race.
As for the 13.1 mile course, which started just outside the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium on Greenland Drive, finished up inside the stadium. The path also included several local historical landmarks, including the Center of Tennessee, Rutherford County Courthouse and the Oakland’s Historic House Museum.
“The fabulous weather, enthusiastic volunteers and support from the community combined to make this the best Middle Half ever,” race director Melinda Tate said. “Runners from 26 states participated, and I think the city of Murfreesboro represented itself well.”