Robinson Wins Sixth Straight Debbie Green Mile
Campion is the female champion
WHEELING — No pain was enough to slow down Cedric Robinson in his quest for a sixth straight Debbie Green Mile victory on Friday at Heritage Port.
The Martins Ferry native was worried leading up to the race about an aggravated right knee, which he was tending to moments prior to the event.
However, once the race began, Robinson was out in front from start to finish as he won his sixth consecutive Green Mile in a time of 4:42, 18 seconds ahead of runner-up Zach Henry.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Am I really going to win this race’,” Robinson said.
“My knee was hurting. I did the Betty Zane on Wednesday and I have a race (today), so I was thinking if I do this race really fast, is my knee going to tear? Am I going to be prepared for (today)?’
“It’s a tradition now to do these three races every year, so I won’t lie I was really nervous wondering if I was going to get the win.”
Robinson earned runner-up honors in the Betty Zane race earlier this week but there was no stopping the 27-year old on the Green Mile course.
“I looked behind me a couple of times and saw the gap widening,” Robinson said. “I know once you get up that hill, I usually try to power through it because if they’re not near me, there is no way they are going to catch me on that hill once I start going.”
William Portzline was third at a 5:05 pace, followed by Matt Haffner (5:17) and Casey Morrison (5:24).
Michelle Campion, 29 was the first female to cross the finish line at a mark of 5:52, as she collected her second victory in the last three years.
“After I won two years ago, I got married and moved away,” Campion said. “But I’m excited to come back and run it again.”
Campion moved to Maryland with her husband following her 2016 win but has since moved to Pittsburgh.
“I’m originally from here but my husband was in the Navy so we moved to Maryland. After he got out, we moved back to Pittsburgh.”
Campion drew up a gameplan moments before the race and as she bolted around the course, her strategy paid off.
“I was nervous because I haven’t been running as much,” Campion said. “I heard a little kid in front of me talking about their pace time and I just wanted to keep up with that and that’s what I did.
“I just tried to keep up with him the whole time. He ended up beating me right at the end but the strategy worked.”
A trio of 14-year olds followed Campion as Hannah Hupp (6:30), Kate Haffner (6:34) and Haley Heitz (6:42) rounded out the top four. Candace Kesselring was fifth at a 6:47 pace.
Barnesville’s Carl Kondrach was victorious in the mile walk for the second straight year as he crossed the finish line in 8:06.
Kondrach switched up his strategy this year as he took to running the Betty Zane race two days ago instead of walking, in preparation for the Green Mile.
“This is my 55th race this year but I ran the Betty Zane on Wednesday,” Kondrach said. “Running is good cross training for walking and I felt great (Friday).”
The win was great but for Kondrach, racing for his friend was by far the most important part of the event.
“We are racing for a reason,” he said. “We are a part of Team RWB (Red, White and Blue), a veteran organization. This race was dedicated to breast cancer and one of our members has breast cancer, Jen Pabin.
“So, we are all wearing pink logos in her honor. She is getting treatment and she is going to beat it down the line.”
Sarah Donley was victorious in the Women’s walk as she turned in a time of 10:14.
“That was my best time,” Donley said. “I won it two years ago but I knew my best friend Nancy Moczek was on my butt and our other rival Amber Basich was behind us, too. We all finished within 10 seconds of each other.”
With the 21st Annual Debbie Green 5K coming up today, the speed should most definitely be on display.
“The 5K and the mile are two completely different events,” Robinson said. “In the 5K, you have to plan it out more but the mile is just an all out guts race.
“It’s going to be a nice experience running with the elites and seeing how they run and the strategies they use.”
As for Campion, she has decided to finish the weekend on top and just enjoy a fun event for a great cause.
“This has always been one of my favorite races,” she said. “It’s a good cause and it’s encouraging to see so many people come out for a good cause. It’s good to be a part of it.”