Martins Ferry’s Cedric Robinson Rules The Green Mile at Heritage Port in Wheeling

Ferry native leads from start to finish

Photo by Cody Tomer Martins Ferry’s Cedric Robinson crosses the tape first during the 2017 Debbie Green Mile on Friday at Heritage Port.

WHEELING–Just two days ago, Martins Ferry’s Cedric Robinson claimed first place in the Betty Zane 5K in Martins Ferry. The 26-year old continued at his steady pace on a wet Friday evening as he bolted to victory at the 2017 Debbie Green Mile at Heritage Port, while Felicity Smith of Bridgeport grabbed top female honors.

Robinson led from start to finish and crossed the line at a time of 4:52, despite the rain-soaked course.

“The rain definitely affects me for a couple of reasons,” Robinson said. “It’s cold. I’m more of a person that likes to run in the dead heat and I don’t like my shoes getting wet or jumping over puddles. That’s not fun. The course was rough. I couldn’t get too much traction during the race so I just decided to play it safe and not get injured or slip.

“I led start to finish but the two guys I was worried about were pretty close to me during the beginning until I went up the hill. Then, I started to distance myself from them.”

Robinson has had quite a busy schedule as of late. Not only did he turn in the fastest time during Wednesday’s and Friday’s races, he did it after working a 16-hour double shift at work.

“I worked a 16-hour shift at the Northern Regional Correction Facility (Friday) and with new jobs, there is less time to train,” Robinson said. “You want to do well but at the same time you want to save yourself, too.

“After doing the Betty Zane on Wednesday, I have to moderate what I do now because the double shifts do take some wear and tear on my body.”

One thing is a given, the rain and the work did not slow Robinson down on this night.

Smith was the top female finisher in the race as she crossed the line with a 6:16 mark to capture 13th place in her first Debbie Green Mile.

“I had never run this course before,” Smith said. “It is a good route with more hills than I thought there would be. I was trying to be really cautious with the wet pavement but overall it was a good course.”

The rain played a role in not just how the participants ran the race but also how they prepared.

“I started warming up an hour before we ended up starting,” Smith said. “I think I did three warmups.”

Smith’s warmups go far beyond just the beginning of the race. She competes every weekend and makes time every week to get active and prepare.

“I spend at least one day a week training at the track,” Smith said. “I do speed work and I do distance running on my own. I run about five days a week.

“I also do a 5K every weekend and half marathons but this is one of the best.”

The top five finishers also included Pittsburgh’s Timothy Flynn (5:00), and Timothy McFadden (5:09), Bridgeport’s Casey Morrison (5:30) and Wheeling’s Justin Rich (5:35).

Following Smith’s performance for the females were Katherine Haffner of Darien, IL (6:42), Sarah Donley of Bethesda (6:56), Rayland’s Haley Heitz (6:57) at just 13 years of age, and Jenn Riggle (7:20) of Glen Dale.

Carl Kondrach shared a similar story with Robinson. He was also victorious during Wednesday’s Betty Zane 5K in the walking contest and picked right back up where he left off by taking first place in the Debbie Green Mile Walk in a time of 8:00.

“I walked in eight minutes flat,” Kondrach said. “That is a good time for walking and I am pretty excited. My No. 1 competitor, Gary Bennett, ran today so I was able to take first place.

“We always do battle and I have finished second to him in the last couple years and we will be competing again (today).

“I like the competition. It is a lot of fun and it is a great cause, too.”

The top female finisher from the walkers division was Moundsville’s Natasha Hribal, who crossed the line third overall at a 10:06 clip to claim her first win.

“Last year I finished third in the female competition,” Hribal said. “This feels good and I am definitely improving in my walking.”

The top five male walkers included John Fitzgerald of Belmont (10:04), Steve Benke of Penn Hills, Pa. (10:26), Wheeling’s Jim Mathysiak (10:36) and New Martinsville’s Christopher Rush (10:39).

Adena’s Amber Basich (10:30) was the number two female walker, followed by New Martinsville’s Peggy Young (10:59), Hanna Gossett of Moundsville (11:12) and Wheeling’s Nicole LaRue (11:26).

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