Bradford Brooks’ Rim Country Half-Marathon winning time of 1:32.18 didn’t come close to last year’s record-setting pace of 1:18.10 set by Brandon Day, but it was good enough to win the event by about a two-minute margin.
The race, which benefits Payson Habitat for Humanity, was held in sunny, 70-degree weather Oct. 3 in Green Valley Park and on Payson streets.
“It was beautiful weather. The runners loved the race and we received great feedback,” said Mary McMullen, Town of Payson Trails and Recreation Coordinator, who helped host the event.
Trailing Brooks in the 67-runner half-marathon field was Michael Duer of Tucson. He was clocked in 1:34.29.
Leadville, Colo. runner Scott Griffin, who won the 2007 Rim Country Challenge, was ninth in 1:41.13.
The first female finisher, 25-year-old Angela Axmann of Flagstaff, turned in a clocking of 1:35.37 to finish fourth overall.
Payson’s Lynne O’Donnel, 40, was 51st overall and eighth in her age group in 2:16.41.
The oldest runner in the field, 79-year-old Tom Cooka of Payson, was second in his age group in 2:50.45.
Cooka is a veteran runner on the local, state and national sports scene, competing in town-hosted events, the Grand Canyon Games, Lori Piestewa Games and Senior Olympics.
Also for Payson, 69-year old Charles Wilcox was fourth (3:19.44) in the 60-69 years male division.
In the relay team division, “Two Does and a Buck” pranced to first in 1:40.01.
With an ET of 1:44.22, the “Hannah Montana Fan Club” was second.
Eight, three-person teams ran among the relay crews, a division McMullen called prior to the race “a lot of fun,” and a way to participate without having to run the entire halfmarathon distance.
In the 5K event, 16-year-old Shane Hengesh of Yuma sped to an 18:15 clocking and first-place finish.
The time was a marked improvement over the 19:40 Hengesh turned in last year, when he was also first.
His nearest competitor on Saturday was Fran Magri of Rochester, N.Y., who was more than three minutes off the winning pace at 21:47.
Adriana Barnes, a 15-year-old Payson runner, took fourth overall with a time of 23:33.
Elsa Bobier, 45, also represented the Rim Country well, taking seventh in 28:10. Gisela runner Mark Smith, 49, won the 40-49 years male division with an ET of 22:12.
McMullen called the benefit a complete success and said she hopes the town can again co-sponsor it next year.