The second annual Clinton Half Marathon is being heralded as a success by event organizers and runners alike.
Runners took part in their choice of 5K, 10K or half marathon through the streets of Clinton on Sunday morning.
This year’s event also included a keynote speech from Matt Long, author of “The Long Run,” on Saturday night.
Runners first crossed the start line at 7:30 a.m. By 7:51 the first runners in the 5K were crossing the finish line.
“It was fun,” Paul Endriss, of Clinton said. Endriss took second in the 5K. “We had a good showing. It’s good to see the community come together.”
According to race organizer Dr. Brian Peck, this year’s race drew a similar amount of runners as last year and was even more successful.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Peck said.
He lauded his race committee and the more than 250 volunteers who handed out water, collected chips and performed many other tasks to support the runners.
“I feel all the work has really paid off,” Peck said.
Joel Frye, of Des Moines, took first place in the half marathon for the second year in a row. The Clinton native anticipated the hills and terrain that make the race challenging.
“It was good. It was nice to know what to expect,” he said.
Frye appreciated the music provided for runners along the route. The music was provided after Peck received suggestions from runners in last year’s race.
At mile four the Clinton High School drumline entertained while bagpipes awaited the half marathon runners in Eagle Point Park.
“The bagpipes at Eagle Point Park provided that motivation at a point in the race when you really needed it,” Frye said.
Frye beat his time from last year’s race by nearly four minutes, a feat he accomplished with the help of a coach he has been working with, he said. Frye plans to run in the Des Moines Marathon and the Boston Marathon. He said the Clinton course was good training for a full, 26.2-mile marathon.
Emily Perreault was the first female to finish the half marathon. The Mount Vernon resident also ran in the inaugural race last year.
“I feel good. It was a good run,” she said. “I ran it last year, so I was more prepared.”
Runners were also cheered by residents as they made their way through Clinton.
“There were a lot of people outside,” Jan Scott, of Morrison, Ill., who chose the Clinton half marathon as her first, said. “It was nice to have the local people encouraging you along the route.”
Peck was thrilled Sunday as the last of the runners had crossed the finish line.
“The overall experience was just awesome,” he said. “This year was a tremendous success. We’re already getting fired up about making next year even better.”
The night before the race, Matt Long brought motivation and empowerment during his keynote speech at Clinton High School.
Long is a New York City firefighter who was hit by a 20-ton bus in December 2005. Doctors gave Long a 1 percent chance of surviving the injuries he sustained. Long received 68 units of blood, had more than 40 surgeries and spent five months in the hospital. Only three years later, Long ran in the New York City Marathon. Five years after his accident, Long would complete an Iron Man in New York.
“I ask myself over and over again, ‘why did I live?’” Long shared the with the audience on Saturday. “”I need to make my story visible.”
Long shared the story of being hit by the bus and the long road to getting back into shape to complete the New York Marathon and Iron Man.
“Little did I know, that all that work I did was so I could live, so I could survive,” Long said of the shape he had gotten his body into before the accident.
Long encouraged members of the audience to “train for life” and persevere without second-guessing themselves.
“You can’t look back at yourself and think ‘what if I fail?’” he said.
Long also made an appearance at the race, rallying runners as they headed to the starting line.
Top Male and Female Runners
• Joel Frye - 1:14:44
• Emily Perreault - 1:32:10
• Judd Allbaugh - 41:23
• Sarah Carlin - 44:45
• Chris Scott - 15:41
• Connie Lahann - 22:52