Temesgen Is Female Winner

WHEELING – Despite not knowing what to expect from the course at the 37th annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, Etaferahu Temesgen knew what she expected of herself.

“I came here to win,” Temesgen said through an interpreter.

And so she did.

The 23-year-old Temesgen, who hails from Ethiopa but runs out of Silver Springs, Md., crossed the finish line Saturday in 1:19.21.4 to win the female portion of the event and finish ninth overall.

“I am happy with this,” Temesgen said. “The course is very hilly and the weather was not bad.”

Temesgen’s time wasn’t a personal best – that came in Remich, Luxemborg, where she ran a 1:13:02 in September 2010. It was good enough to win Saturday, more than a minute ahead of runnerup Irina Alexandrova, a 32-year-old who runs out of Hebron, Ky., and finished in a time of 1:20:25.5.

The third female to cross the finish line also hailed from Hebron, Ky. That was 43-year-old Tatyana Byelovol, who had a time of 1:25:24.2.

Rounding out the Top 5 were Bridget Connolly, 23, of Charleston, who was the top American finisher at 1:29:28.0, and Tammy Slusser, 48, of Monroeville, Pa., who was timed at 1:30:10.8.

Kelley Mortakis, 22, of Wheeling, crossed the finish line in a time of 1:35:01.7 for the right to call herself the top local female in the event, placing 39th overall. Dr. Heather Wayt, 39, who has become a staple of running in the area, ended in a time of 1:39:23.2, which was good for 52nd.

Angela Hill, a 29-year-old from Wheeling, came in at No. 66 overall with a time of 1:41:32.0, while Tara Thomas, 38, of Triadelphia, finished 69th at 1:42:14.2.

“It was a good race,” Temesgen said. “It was fun and everyone was very nice to me.”