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Greenville runners flock to Kiawah Island over the weekend

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The Kiawah Island Marathon & Half Marathon is one of South Carolina’s oldest distance events. Held on the island’s exclusive golf resort (site of the 2012 PGA Championship), a record 3,906 runners participated in last year’s event. The remoteness of the island and the unpredictability of the coastal December weather (where summer-like temperatures are as likely as sleet) have been longstanding trademarks of the event that was first run in 1978.

Each year, thousands of runners from around the country select Kiawah for the island’s majestic beauty, not least of all for the course’s flat terrain. But the island’s accessibility can be nothing short of a nightmare without ample planning beforehand. On Friday night, traffic had slowed to a crawl as runners made their arrival. To get to the island, vehicles must take Main Rd., a two lane highway lined with a few coastal dwellings that connects to the mainland. Those unable to cough up the cash needed to stay at one of the resort’s posh villas or at the magnificent Sanctuary Hotel (where rooms were starting at $330 before taxes over the weekend), sought lodging in the greater Charleston area.

The annual December event saw a huge presence from Greenville area runners.

Michelle Ziegler of Greenville, 32, delivered a PR Saturday in the half (1:24:39), good enough for third overall. In other major state half marathons for the year, she placed 7th at the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and 11th at the Columbia Governor’s Cup last month. At Kiawah, she was the top female South Carolina finisher.

Greenville’s Jim Harper (winner of the Spinx Marathon in October) placed 6th in the half with a 1:14:41 clocking. Harper passed the 10K mark in 34:17- good enough to win most local road races- but like other competitors, was affected by the rising humidity in the second half of the race.

Rick Kattouf, CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc. and Pace Running Magazine contributor, was a top masters finisher in the Half with a time of 1:28:24 . The growing number of TeamKattouf racing gear observed at regional road races and triathlons is becoming a common occurrence.

Greenville Track Club member and Simpsonville resident, Guenter Full, placed third in the male 70-74 year age group.

The top men’s finisher in the marathon from Greenville was Ivan O’Keefe, 27, in 3:18:26. Twenty-seven year old Maegan Stokes was the Greenville area’s top finisher among the women (3:45:18).

Back in the summer, Greenville resident, Hope Edlin, decided to look for a new marathon experience. She had previously run at the Spinx Run Fest on two occasions, but was seeking a race “not too far away” with a relatively flat course. Kiawah met the bill perfectly. Like other runners, Hope remained somewhat observant about Saturday’s weather forecast. While the rain held off save for a couple brief droppings, temperatures hovered in the mid-60s at noon, four hours into the marathon.

Despite the weather, Hope set a PR, but she explained how the race took a lot out her.

“This marathon ended up being a really tough one for me,” she said. “I've spent the last week recuperating from a virus and sinus infection and even though I felt fine at the start of the race, I didn't have the stamina to hold my pace.” Overall, Hope enjoyed how the course meandered through beautiful “neighborhoods and marshes” with plenty of supportive “spectators, volunteers, and live bands along the route to keep the race lively and fun.”

Also making an appearance at the event expo was Pace Running Magazine. In addition to promoting the magazine’s growing subscription base in the Lowcountry, individuals who stopped by Pace’s booth could purchase a Cookie Cutter Runner. This custom made baking tool (designed in the shape of a runner) can be used a Christmas tree ornament as well as for age group awards at future races.

Magazine Publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Denise Bryson, has participated in the Kiawah event on several occasions. In 2010, she completed her first marathon there and has since been attracted to the island’s natural wonder.

“My fear going into my first marathon,” Denise recalls, “was the possibility of an alligator coming on the course.” A recent study documented 157 alligators throughout the island on just one night. “But thankfully that never happened,” she says. As a last minute decision, Denise opted to jump into Saturday’s Half and set a huge PR in the process.

In all, 959 runners completed the full with 2,603 participants finishing the half. Both races began at the same place at 8:00a.m. on Saturday morning.

Kiawah Island Marathon Awards List (courtesy of Race Management Systems, www.rmssports.com)

********** FEMALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********
1 Caitlin Judd 30 Charleston SC 3:01:01
2 Brooke Waters 37 Shawnee KS 3:05:55
3 Barbara Pennington 48 Marietta GA 3:07:36
4 Erin Miller 37 Columbia SC 3:21:54
5 Johanna Remes 45 Charlotte NC 3:22:50
********** MALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********
1 Michael Dwomoh 44 Raleigh NC 2:43:34
2 Christopher Schmidt 39 Evanston IL 2:47:48
3 Danny Ferreira 31 Concord NH 2:52:16
4 Jason Annan 39 Mount Pleasant SC 2:53:13
5 Colin Jones 43 Raleigh NC 2:54:04
********** FEMALE MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Becky Scheumann 46 Advance NC 3:23:00
2 Carol Gensheimer 49 Georgetown KY 3:23:37
3 Bonnie Darrenkamp 44 Huntersville NC 3:31:18
********** MALE MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Marc Embler 56 North Charlesto SC 2:55:57
2 Johan Desmet 46 Suwanee GA 2:57:29
3 David Gile 45 Greensboro NC 2:59:00
********** FEMALE GRAND MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Jeannie Rice 65 Concord OH 3:31:19
********** MALE GRAND MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Charles Gartland 56 Louisville KY 3:07:47

Kiawah Island Half Marathon Awards List

********** FEMALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********
1 Alice Rogers 35 Charlotte NC 1:20:35
2 Amanda Tate 36 Signal Mountain TN 1:24:23
3 Michelle Ziegler 32 Rock Hill SC 1:24:40
4 Caitlin Ranson 28 Charleston SC 1:25:40
5 Ann Mazur 28 Charlottesville VA 1:26:17
********** MALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********
1 Jesse Kemmerer 21 Franklin Spring GA 1:11:34
2 Jay Stephenson 32 Rome GA 1:12:32
3 Rashaun Tanner 21 Franklin Spring GA 1:12:49
4 Clinton Henry 27 Wilmington NC 1:13:15
5 Brett Howell 30 Morrisville NC 1:13:54
********** FEMALE MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Merrie R McReynolds 40 Kingsport TN 1:30:20
2 Tammy Lifka 43 Glen Ellyn IL 1:33:21
3 Andrea Gorce 50 Crestwood KY 1:33:42
********** MALE MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Jeffrey Zickus 40 Atlanta GA 1:16:52
2 Jade Costen 40 Winston Salem NC 1:19:06
3 John Massey 49 Mount Pleasant SC 1:22:04
********** FEMALE GRAND MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Sue Kelly 52 Alpharetta GA 1:34:08
********** MALE GRAND MASTERS OVERALL RESULTS **********
1 Mike Kelley 54 Chapel Hill NC 1:24:11

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