What a difference a year makes.
Last summer’s edition of the Mothers of Preschoolers “Run for Your Momma” half-marathon and 5K races had hot temperatures and a pre-race storm to blame for the lowest turnout in the three years the event has been held.
The temperature was in the upper 50s Saturday for the start of the half-marathon, and an influx of runners from other states helped boost participation to the highest level ever.
“We had 185 registered, and 175 ran,” race director Bethany Carlson said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how big of an event this is for Marion.”
The field included runners from Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and North Carolina.
“People come from all over because they’re usually training for a marathon in the fall,” Carlson said. “A half-marathon fits well into their training schedules.”
Half-marathons are scarce in Texas in the summer, causing Sophie Draffin of Arlington to look elsewhere for a race. Draffin is trying to run a half-marathon in all 50 states, and the race in Marion had a unique appeal.
“My middle name is Marian,” Draffin said. “I ran in the Francis Marion race in South Carolina.”
Draffin, an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, didn’t know the race would lead to an unexpected reunion with Presbyterian Church pastor Jeremiah Lange. The two hadn’t seen each other since they were classmates at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
“We recognized each other, but I couldn’t place it, and then she mentioned Fuller,” Lange said.
Carlson said something has been added each year to make the race more attractive.
“We had online registrations this year,” Carlson said. “Last year was the first year we had chip timing. Every year we try to add something to improve the race. Some people say they come here just for the breakfast and the atmosphere.”
Carlson estimated as many as 50 volunteers worked to conduct the event.
“The MOPS group worked hard together to pull it off. There’s no way to do it with just the committee people,” Carlson said. “You have to have a ton because you have all the water stops and Gatorade stops, course directors and finish line help, and people doing registration and working in the kitchen.”
Run for your momma results
1. Seth Marsh, 1 hour, 18 minutes, 49 seconds; 2. Keith Long, 1:21:20; 3. Marcus Wilkenson, 1:22:16.
Half-marathon (female overall):
1. Andrew Tricity, 1:29:27; 2. Kylie Cheetsos, 1:36:21; 3. Rebecca Moore, 1:37:13.
Half-marathon (age group winners, men):
Ages 1 to 19: Henry Moore, 1:27:39.
20 to 29: Kevin Waner, 1:36:06.
30 to 39: Dan Swaney, 1:27:42.
40 to 49: David Sanders, 1:34:53.
50 to 59: Gregory Hattan, 1:35:48.
60 to 98: Murray Balk, 2:02:55.
Half marathon (age group winners, women):
1 to 19: Morgan Barron, 1:50:09.
20 to 29: Casey Mahoney, 1:52:47.
30 to 39: Kodi Panzer, 1:46:38.
40 to 49: Jen LeFevre, 1:59:49.
50 to 59: Elaine Chaves, 1:50:54.
60 to 98: Jan Taylor, 2:26.43.
1. Kevin Leffler, 21:37.07; 2. Brian Cheetsos, 21:55.05; 3. Derek Conrad, 22:28.37.
11. Anne Hickerson, 26:39.33; 12. Kathy Meierhoff, 26:48.89; 13. Lesli Kade, 27:17.62.