Olympic-Like Effort Wins Pahh Half Marathon

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Justin Rex (left) shouts his excitement as he crosses the finish line of his 5K run, Saturday, Oct. 4 in Green Valley Park during the Rim Country Challenge.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

The 5K runners group together at the starting line in Green Valley Park as they loosen up for the start. The Rim Country Challenge raises money for the Payson Area Habitat for Humanity. The Challenge consists of a half marathon, 5K run and a children’s fun run; each with different start times and routes. This was the third time the Rim Country Challenge has been presented and it drew a field of more than 200 runners. This year there were 14 runners who beat the winning time of the 2008 champion, who clocked the half marathon in 1:42.41.

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

Nick Sanders crossed the finish line in second place during the 5K run with a time of 22:28.

Brandon Day turned in an Olympic-like running effort dominating the Third Annual Rim Country Challenge half marathon in a record time of 1:18.10.

“And that was into a headwind much of the time,” town parks and recreation coordinator Deb Rose said.

The run was held Oct. 4 under cloudy, windy skies in Green Valley Park and on streets around Payson.

“Perfect weather to run a half marathon on this hilly course,” Rose said.

Day, 28, of Lakeside, was the only runner in the 92-person field to click off a sub 6-minute pace. His pace was 5:58 per mile.

Last year, over a different course, but the same distance, Scott Griffin was first in 1:42.41 and ran at a 7:04 pace.

In 2008, Griffin was 13th, although he improved his course time to 1:41.35.

Adding more luster to Day’s half marathon winning per-mile pace was that it was more than good enough to win the gold medal in the 5K run held as a part of the Rim Country Challenge.

Shane Hengesh took the 5K title in 19:40 or a 6:20 pace.

Second behind Day in the half marathon was 28-year-old Brandford Brooks who toured the course in 1:32.25.

About one second behind Brooks was bronze medalist Keith Rustin, 21.

Karen Donmoyer, 44, was second in 2007 in 1:43.15, but on Saturday fell to 14th even though she bumped up her time to 1:41.41.

Among the seniors, 61-year-old Robert Huotari was seventh in 1:35.51.

The female overall winner was 36-year-old Terri Antonino. She finished 10th in 1:37.25.

In the 2008 race, 14 runners turned in faster times than last year’s winning clocking.

“We knew we had some elite runners in the race” Rose said.

In the half marathon relay of four-person teams running about 3-plus miles each, The Blondes took first in 1:58.57. The team of Three Wops and a Polack was second in 1:09.50 and Club USA was third in 2:29.01.

Trailing the 15-year-old Hengesh in the 5K were runner-up Nick Sanders (22:28) and third-place finisher, Justin Rex (23.15).

Adriana Barnes took the 5K women’s gold in 24:23.

The 5K also drew 83-year-old Raymond Kinsman who is a fixture on the RCC running/walking scene. He finished 59th in 38:06.

The senior set was well represented in the race with several other entrants in their 70s.

The RCC races have been run since their inception to benefit the Payson Area Habitat for Humanity and on Saturday drew the biggest turnout ever, with more than 200 runners in the different races.

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