Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bud Light Stadium Run Won't Feature Fennell

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bud Light Stadium Run Won't Feature Fennell

Article excerpt

There was a time when the Bud Light Stadium Run was nicknamed the "Leon Fennell Invitational."

It made sense: Fennell, a retired St. Louis cartographer, has won the 10K event four times - including successive victories in 1989, '90 and '91.

The race is one of the few remaining in the country that features a handicap format, meaning that nearly every runner gets a head start, based on age and gender.

For Fennell, now 63, it was a natural. He was able to combine his uncommon speed and endurance with a hefty handicap. That pushed him to the front of the field and made him the odds-on favorite for several years.

But that began to change in '92, when Jack Gentry of Rogers, Ark., outdueled Fennell over the final miles. Then John Hosner of Blacksburg, Va., returned to win the '93 and '94 races.

Hosner, who also won the race in 1984, will be trying to tie Fennell's record with his fourth Stadium Run victory Sunday. And Fennell won't be there to try to stop him.

The field will begin the 6.2-mile trek at 8 a.m. on the south side of Busch Stadium. Groups will be sent off in 30-second intervals, heading for the finish line near second base inside the stadium.

Fennell has been hampered for nearly eight months with a pulled groin muscle. That malady, combined with a mysterious bout with muscle fatigue in his legs, has severely limited his training and has kept him out of competition.

"I'm just not up to running any kind of race," Fennell said. "The groin muscle is getting better, but my legs just get so tired. After a mile or two, I feel like I've run 10 miles.

"There's no apparent reason for it; the doctors can't find out why."

Fennell's frustration is obvious. "I started out the year looking forward to the Stadium Run as my biggest race of the year," he said.

With Fennell on the sideline, the race should develop into a duel between Hosner and Gentry. …

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