Kondrach, Ritz Are Walk Champions
Barnesville Man Claims Fifth Title in Six Years
WHEELING — Carl Kondrach and Lauren Ritz are both quite familiar with the challenges the roads of Wheeling pose to runners.
They’re both equally adept at mastering those challenges.
Kondrach, from Barnesville, and Ritz, from The Friendly City, both claimed walking crowns Saturday morning at the 42nd annual Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic.
For Kondrach, who was the top male and overall walker, finishing with a time of 2:10:11.7, this year’s event presented a different set of challenges, those of which mainly concerned battling the heat and increasing humidity levels.
“I’m pretty familiar with the course,” said Kondrach, the top male half marathon walker five of the last six years. “The last three or four miles it got really humid, so I had to back off a little bit.
“I’m happy with my time. There’s some really good competition here. I’m glad I got out of the humidity before it got much worse.”
Ritz, the top female walker in 2015 and 2016, said the entire course poses a challenge.
“Twenty-ninth street gets you right off the bat,” she said. “Then, you’re feeling pretty good. You make it through Elm Grove feeling good, and then ‘Chicken Neck Hill’ you’re like ‘Oh, man.’ Then, Wheeling Hill is a killer.”
Ritz has both ran and walked the course, doing so usually with friends.
“I work harder when I walk, so it’s a lot easier to run,” Ritz said. “Just because if I walk, I’m really watching my form and when I run I tend to be a sloppy runner. So, walking for me is more of a task.”
Sarah Donley, of Bethesda and Kondrach’s running partner, was the second female to cross the finish line, finishing sixth overall in 2:37:49.7. Wheeling’s Megan Phillips was eighth in 2:39:47.6.
Lee Stough, of Glassport, Pa. was second with a time of 2:16:41.6, while Don Slusser, of Monroeville, Pa. was third in 2:22:22.4. Corey Rogers, of St. Clairsville, was seventh overall, with a time of 2:39:47.3
“This is my sixth half marathon this year and 30th race of the year,” Kondrach explained. “You have to simulate race conditions. You have to get out when it’s hot and humid. You have to get out on the hills and you have to put miles in. It’s that simple.”