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Friends Aubrey Lemine, Heather Cleary Cross Finish First In Ogden Half Marathon Women’s Run

Photo by Seth Staskey Morgantown residents Heather Cleary (left) and Aubrey Lemine break the tape as the top female finishers in Saturday’s Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic. Lemine was crowned the champion of the event by hundredths of a second.

WHEELING — Regardless if you’re talking about the weather or the execution of a race strategy, the conditions were perfect for Morgantown training partners Aubrey Lemine and Heather Cleary Saturday morning.

Though it was just a light mist falling with temperatures in the low 60s, Lemine and Cleary took the 44th running of the Ogden Newspaers Half Marathon Classic by storm, crossing with basically the same time (1 hour, 28 minutes, 48 seconds), which was almost three full minutes ahead of their nearest competitor.

Lemine, a Morgantown High and West Virginia University product, was credited with the victory by hundredths of a second over Cleary, who ran collegiately at Alderson-Broaddus.

“We decided (during the race) to cross the line together, so it was just a matter of whose foot touched the mat first,” Lemine, who competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, said. “We run almost every day together, so it’s just natural for us to run together.”

That plan didn’t change through the streets of the ‘Friendly City’ either.

Cleary, who is married West Virginia University track coach Sean Cleary, expected to just run a “comfortable race.”

“Our plan was to run together and we mainly came out for our long run because we knew this course was brutal with the hills and those hills definitely make it tough to run comfortably,” Cleary said. “It’s always nice to get paid for working hard, but we have big goals for our fall schedule, so this kind of fit in for our training.”

Though Cleary had seen the course before, Lemine was running it for the first time.

“It’s tough,” Lemine said quickly. “Coming from Morgantown, we train on hills every day, I didn’t feel terrible, but they were tough. The course was nice and well-marked. I actually loved it.”

It didn’t take Lemine and Cleary long to separate from the remainder of the lead female pack. Actually, it was just a few miles into the race at the foot of the steep and challenging 29th Street hill.

“That really steep hill is where we seemed to settle into our groove and just relaxed into it,” Lemine said.

Neither Lemine nor Cleary was truly worried about who won the race. It was all about the training and experience.

“We just wanted to run together,” Cleary said. “Aubrey asked me, ‘who is going to cross first?’ I said, ‘we’ll figure it out.’ It was fun.”

The Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic was just another step in the training journey for both Lemine and Cleary, who plan to really be at their peaks for the fall portion of their schedule which both expect to include a marathon.

“Heather’s husband (Sean) is our coach, so we’ll be talking with him to see what’s next for us, but we’re hoping for a marathon,” Lemine said. “I’d like to run one of the big (marathons).”

Though Cleary has competed in only one marathon, Lemine has done four, including Boston.

The next event, however, will be the Clarksburg 10K later this summer.

While the men’s portion of the Half Marathon was dominated by Ohio Valley residents, the women’s race was basically the opposite. The top area finisher was Wheeling’s Angela Hill. She was eighth overall in 1 hour, 40 minutes, 17 seconds.

The top finisher from East Ohio was Rayland’s Nikkol Zanes, who was 11th overall in 1:46:12.

Also inside the top 15 from the immediate area were St. Clairsville residents Allison Wojtasek and Maggie Marody, who finished 12th and 13th, respectively, and Wheeling’s Janie Davis, who was 15th.


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