MYRTLE BEACH ? Local runners represented Charleston well at the ninth Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon, Dasani Half Marathon and House of Blues Marathon Relay Saturday in what is becoming a fairly competitive event drawing top runners from across the Southeast.
The marathon and half are the biggest in the state, drawing 1,518 and 2,311 finishers respectively, on Saturday.
In the marathon, the only local overall finisher was 2003 and 2005 Kiawah Island Marathon champion Joerg Schmidt, 42, of Summerville, who finished third in the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 36 minutes and 43 seconds.
Three runners picked up age group awards: Paul Keeley, 20, of Charleston, won third in male 20-24 age group with a 3:01:33; Anne-Wyman Cipolla, 31, of Charleston, got second in female 30-34 with a 3:09:51; and Kay Chandler, 63, of Isle of Palms, took second in female 60-64, with a time of 4:25:18.
But it was the more popular half marathon where local runners really shined.
The best performance came from Citadel assistant cross-country and track coach Brian Johnson, 30, of Johns Island, who finished second overall in 1:11:27.
Dr. Tom Mather, 48, of Mount Pleasant not only won first in the masters category (age 40-up), but set a pending South Carolina record in the male 45-49 age group with a sizzling 1:14:35. The current record of 1:14:55 was set by Roy Kulikowski of Greenville in 1998. Mather's record comes just three weeks after he fell short of setting the state age group record for the 15k at the Charlie Post Classic.
The last local winner of the Cooper River Bridge Run (1981) ? 48-year-old Summerville resident Marc Embler ? continues to show signs of a mid-life running comeback with remarkable 1:18:33, which garnered him third place in masters. Embler's run was three minutes and 29 seconds faster than his Kiawah Island Half Marathon finish on Dec. 10, 2005, which garnered him a first place in the masters category and a coveted Proud Pelican award.
While not technically local, Pawleys Island speedster, 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials competitor and mother of three Donna Anderson, 38, had a sub-par half marathon (for her) but still finished second overall female and 26th overall with a 1:21:19. Anderson has in-laws in Charleston.
Among several local age group winners was Mather's 14-year-old son, Wesley Mather, who finished first for males ages 14 in a time of 1:44:05 in his first half marathon.
Also running her first half marathon, Bishop England High School math teacher and assistant track coach Rives Poe, 28, of Mount Pleasant, finished second for females ages 25-29 with a time of 1:33:34.
And avid local racer Joan Mulvihill, 61, of Charleston won first for females ages 60-64 with a 2:09:40
In the marathon relay, two local runners ? Neal McDonaugh of Mount Pleasant and Irv Batten of Summerville ? were part of the five-man Team Strictly Running, which finished first overall for all-male teams with a time of 2:14:32. The next closest team was nearly five minutes behind.
The third best co-ed team was the PrimeTimeFitnessRacers, which finished in 3:02:34, and included Mark Nelson, Inga Sullivan, Bratton Fennell, Alex Kuss and Hillary McHugh.
Bridge Run update
Registrations for the 29th Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk, the first to be held on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, are still running way ahead of last year's record-smashing year. As of early last Friday, 17,830 people had signed up compared to 9,112 at the same time last year, according to Bridge Run Assistant Race Director Tami Varn.
Those numbers should surge a bit in early March as people try to save $5 by registering before March 11 early registration deadline. The Bridge Run will be held April 1. For information, see www.bridgerun.com or call 937-4183.
Goose Creek clinics
The Goose Creek Recreation Commission will host several clinics geared toward participating in the Cooper River Bridge Run. The clinics, which are geared to people ages 50 or older, will be held 9-10:30 a.m. Tuesdays at the Goose Creek Community Center, located at 519-A North Goose Creek Boulevard. The clinics include talks on healthy eating on March 7, "Cardio Consciousness on March 14, "Managing Those Muscles" on March 21 and attitudes and healthy lifestyles on March 28. The cost to participate is $8 per session or $25 for the series. Call the center at 569-4242 for more information.
Don't forget that South Carolina's chapter of Special Olympics is looking for runners to help be a part of its Mid-Winter Games opening ceremonies, specifically a "torch run" at 5:45 p.m. Friday.
The 2.8-mile run will depart from Colonial Lake and finish at The Citadel's McAlister Field House. To find out more, contact Angela Klick at Aklick@so-sc.org or (843) 991-4171 or 852-9275.
SATURDAY ? 4th MESSA (Master of Environmental Studies Student Association) 8K for H2O. 8k run and 5k walk. 9 a.m. Folly Beach. $12-$16. www.actioncarolina.com.
MARCH 4 ? 4th Catch the Leprechaun. 5k run. Park West subdivision, Mount Pleasant. $20. www.active.com, www.ontherunstore.com or 856-4206.
MARCH 11 ? 8th Daniel Island 5K Race and Walk. 9 a.m. Daniel Island. $15-$25. www.behs.com/5krace.
Reach David Quick at firstname.lastname@example.org.