at Brians Run
BY DAVID BLOCK
WEST CHESTER, PA--The Brians Run 10K entrants had fast finishing times, but it wasnt due to the ideal 56-degree December weather, nor was it due to them pushing themselves. This year, the course was a tad short of 10K because the lead vehicle accidentally skipped a few blocks. These things happen, said Brians Run race director Dick Fitch. Another problem was that a few cars tried to go through parts of the traffic-free race course, but the police stopped them. I think all in all it was a good race, said Fitch. The weather was great for the December 5 event unlike last year. In December of 03 the 26th running of Brians Run was postponed to the spring due to a blizzard.
Bill Stahl of Colorado said that he was the only person who ran the course last year when the race was cancelled. I flew all the way from Colorado to run this race. There were no race directors to start the race, no pace vehicle, no police officer to direct traffic. He ran by himself and made a few wrong turns. Although he has run this race for over 20 years, it felt odd to run alone. Im used to seeing so many runners in front of me so I never memorized the course. This year Stahl had a different problem, running with a broken toe. Stahl finished the race in 41:35. He hopes to bring his time down next year.
Brians Run was created in 1978 after high school sophomore Brian Bratcher became paralyzed in a football scrimmage. The race was meant to be a one-time event to defray the Bratcher Familys medical expenses, but Brian insisted that the race take place every year provided that other people in the West Chester community who are worse off benefit.
The overall 04 Brians Run winner was Kenyan native Patrick Nthiwa who clocked 28:35. Although Nthiwa trains in West Chester, he never ran the course before. I liked the course, said Nthiwa.
The race started with five runners--Nthiwa, Aurelio Handanga (2nd, 29:12), Paul Mwangi (3rd, 29:47), Michael Digennerd (4th, 29:56), and Michael Mykytok (5th, 30:09)--vying for the lead.
After three miles, Nthiwa broke from the pack without anyone challenging him. I had to push the pace, it was too slow, said Nthiwa.
Throughout the 90s and 21st century, Mwangi ran Brians Run, but he never won.
In the womens field, Genet Gbrer Gorgis won in a time of 32:55. After the race, the Ethiopian native, who trains in the Bronx (NY), talked more about her 15-month-old son, Nubue, back home--whom she thinks about all the time--instead of her win. Unlike most elite runners from other countries who compete in the USA, Genet Gbrer Gorgis has no manager to book her into races. I have to do it all myself, she said. I couldnt get management because my times are too slow. Maybe next year I can get someone.
Finishing second was Lyubov Denisova in 32:59 and third was Tatyana Chulakh in 33:33.
To learn more about Brians Run log onto www.briansrun.org.
1. Patrick Nthiwa 28:37
1. Jeff Devlin 32:32
1. Andrew Lobb 17:11
1. Genet Gbrer Gorgis 32:55
1. Lorraine Jasper 39:11
1. Andrea Macartney 22:32