Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Good Race in the Long Run; Humidity Can't Stop 2,100-Plus Runners

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Good Race in the Long Run; Humidity Can't Stop 2,100-Plus Runners

Article excerpt


Sammy Nyamongo and Sharon Hathaway, both with fading dreams of one day competing in the Summer Olympics, bolstered their hopes Sunday with victories in the 25th running of the Jacksonville Bank Marathon.

Nyamongo and Hathaway were part of a contingent of more than 2,100 finishers who competed in either the marathon or half-marathon on a course that stretched from The Bolles School, down San Jose Boulevard, through parts of Mandarin along the St. Johns River and back to Bolles.

The race started at 7 a.m. under warm, humid conditions but finished several hours later under breezy, much cooler temperatures.

The early start took its toll on runners.

"It wasn't hot out there, but it was very, very humid," said Michael Hemsley, a former University of Florida track and cross-country runner who was the first finisher in the half-marathon. "I wouldn't want to be doing a full marathon today."

Nyamongo might have been thinking the same by the time he came across the finish line in 2 hours, 29 minutes and 1 second to win the men's open marathon. He and Chad Ware dueled throughout the race, alternating first and second place.

With four miles to go, Nyamongo took the lead for good and held off Ware down the stretch by seven seconds.

"Not only was it hot, it was very humid," said Nyamongo, a native Kenyan runner who now resides in Marietta. "I normally don't sweat like this, but it was so humid out there.

"I like this course. It's pretty flat, so I probably should have run a little faster. But I ran a marathon last week in Huntsville [Ala.] in 2:27, about what I ran today, so that's not too bad. It's my third marathon in about three weeks, which is a lot. I'm using this race and others to help get me ready for the Boston Marathon in April."

Nyamongo has his sights set on the Olympics, but at age 32, he knows his window of opportunity is closing.

"Being from Kenya, it's tough to qualify for the [Olympic] Trials," he said. …

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