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Thousands Run in Raleigh Marathon

Posted November 4, 2007

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— The inaugural Sony Ericsson City of Oaks Marathon and Rex Healthcare Half-Marathon were held early Sunday morning in Raleigh. More than 3,828 athletes registered for the event, which took runners down Trinity Road, between the N.C. State Fairgrounds and Carter Finley Stadium.

“It was just the greatest time. I had the best time today,” runner Stephanie Gillespie said.

“It was challenging, but that's good,” runner Amy Deane said.

“The hills make it interesting,” runner Michael Harvey said.

Marathon sponsor, Raleigh Running Outfitters, established the marathon with hopes of bringing a prestigious running event to Raleigh.

"It was just time for it to be done," Jim Micheels, City of Oaks Race Director, told WRAL last month.

Raleigh has not seen a marathon in five years. Another group tried to get a marathon going several years ago, but it ran out of steam. Runners who ran in past Raleigh marathons, remembered the challenges.

“The marathon that got postponed a week for the snow storm that didn't occur, the marathon that got diverted off course, and finally the marathon with the ice storm,” Harvey recalled.

Sunday morning, all the snafus of prior marathons were gone, as the City of Oaks Marathon and Half-Marathon took off without a hitch.

“I thought it was nice. I actually haven't been downtown in awhile. It was nice to see some new development. I need to come down here more often,” Ashley Edwards said.

City leaders hope the new marathon will become a tradition, much like the Richmond Marathon. It has been around for 30 years and brings in an estimated $8.5 million for the city.

"Most major cities in the United States have a marathon," Micheels said. "It's unfortunate that the Triangle and Raleigh, specifically, hasn't had that history in the past, but starting this year, we're going to start to develop that."

A total of 2,308 people finished the half marathon, while 815 completed the marathon.

Tim Surface, 29, of Raleigh won the marathon with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 35 minutes and 22 seconds. Second-place finisher was John Piggott, 42, of Williamsburg, Va.

Jynocel Basweti, 20, of Chapel Hill won the half-marathon with an unofficial time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 18 seconds. Second-place finisher was Wilson Chepkwony, 25, of Chapel Hill.

The 26.2-mile marathon and 13.1-mile half-marathon benefited the American Cancer Society and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


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  • Autumn Nov 5, 2007

    Thanks for the nice comment, OldRebel. Some of my friends and I stayed and saw Teri finish. She is one strong lady, and all I can say is it takes guts, determination, and athletic prowess to keep walking for seven hours.

    Thanks, Raleigh Running Outfitters, and all the other groups and people, who helped make this possible. It was a great day, and we appreciated everyones' support.

    Wolfpack Girl, in the spirit of things, I hope to see you out there next year! :-)

  • oldrebel Nov 5, 2007

    While I appreciate all those who put themselves on the line to run the Raleigh marathon, I think the story of the last name called as she went over the finish line is the one that really inspires me. Teri Lewis, a 50 year young teacher at North Forsyth High School , walked the marathon and finished at 7 hours and 4 seconds. That really struck home to me. She didn't do it for the adulation of the crowds, she didn't do it for a trophy or prize money...she just simply did it. That moves me. I have never even thought of doing a marathon, but this little woman has made me think, why not, maybe next year. So where ever you are tonight Teri, thankyou for your perserverance, thankyou for toughing it out, thankyou for showing that no matter what the goal and no matter how far it is to the finish line, it can be done. Teri, from the bottom of my heart, thankyou, where ever you are.

  • Autumn Nov 5, 2007

    Wolfpack_girl....this is what I mean about a lot of Christian people I meet. Some of them preach the bible all the time, yet they act very judgemental. I am a Christian too....and for you to assume I don't attend church, when you don't know a thing about me.....is quite an assumption.

    That's great that your church provides in-home services and van pick-ups for people who need it. So I don't see what the problem was with them finding their way to church this past Sunday morning??

    Please understand....I'm all for your pursuing whatever religious beliefs we have. But I also ask that you respect that the marathon is a very important part of my life, and yesterday was one of the best days of my life, and I don't see why people have to make such comments about something that is a big part of my life.

    In fact, marathons and other road races are a healthy part of life. Why don't you give it a try sometime?

  • wolfpack_girl1976 Nov 5, 2007

    Church is more important to me than a marathon anyday! Maybe you should try it, then you would understand.

    By the way, we do have vans that pick up the elderly and we do provide for in-home spiritual needs.

    The bottom line is everyone thinks ONLY about themselves.

  • Autumn Nov 5, 2007

    Wolfpackgirl, that's a bit of a harsh comment, re: I DO NOT expect anything to get in my way.

    It's unfortunate that some elderly or handicapped people might have had trouble on Sunday, but I don't blame the marathon for that. How about bringing the church to them instead? I have a friend who is older and in a wheelchair, and b/c it's tough for her to get out to church every Sunday, she watches it on tv. Why not do that? Or how about a rep from the church coming by and performing a short service for them?

  • wolfpack_girl1976 Nov 5, 2007

    Autumn - I have no problems with directions, I traveled for over 20 years so finding my way into the parking lot is not a problem. However, there are elderly persons that attend church every Sunday, they leave home, know one way in and one way out. I do believe we could be a bit more accommodating to them and others that may be more directionally challenged. I personally have no problem with the marathon and do believe it should be held on Sunday. I look forward to it becoming an annual event with more and more participants.

    One more thing, I DO NOT expect anything to get in my way when it comes to attending church, whether it is one Sunday or fifty-two and I do not appreciate your comment which implies that it's okay because it’s just ONE SUNDAY.

  • PaulRevere Nov 5, 2007

    Can we have a marathon that runs towards the Mexican border?

  • Autumn Nov 5, 2007

    Wolfpack_girl, I'm glad you were happy and all for us, but I can't believe you're going to complain about one Sunday a year. The fact is, no matter when they hold the marathon, it will cause delays for someone, so there's no "right" or "wrong" time to hold it. In fact, I think they were smart to start it early Sunday morning, before most of the crowds swarmed in for the international festival.

  • wolfpack_girl1976 Nov 5, 2007

    I am very happy for Raleigh to have the marathon; however, there should be some better planning for church goers.

  • mvnull Nov 5, 2007

    "brand7976, the race course has been advertised since May and the road closures (including the time for different closures) has been advertised for several days."

    I had not seen anything about this in the local newspaper. I suspect the "advertising" was aimed at runners -- whatever publications they use. Were there signs along the route for a couple of weeks ahead warning of the closure?

    This race didn't affect me, as I don't normally drive in that area on a Sunday morning. I do remember a race that Fetzer organized several years ago that went right by my house. No warning or 'advertising'. I had gone to the store for and was unable to get back to my house.

    Hopefully the city will learn a little and do a better job of warning residents and businesses next year.