The fifth anniversary Marine Corps Historic Half marathon enjoyed its largest participation with 5,973 finishers running the 13.1 mile event May 20 under beautiful blue skies and swells of patriotism in Fredericksburg, Va. Fredericksburg’s own Bert Jacoby, 29, finished first overall running the course in 1:11:33, beating his own best time of 1:15:02, set at the 2008 Historic Half.
“I came here to get first, it’s all I care about,” said Jacoby. The third grade teacher at Lafayette Upper Elementary School addressed the crowds of spectators at the finish saying he was thrilled to see many of his young students out on the course cheering “Mr. Jacoby.”
Courtney Chapman, 28, of Norfolk, Va., placed first among all women finishing with 1:21:56.
“I did the Historic Half because I knew it would make me stronger, and I did it because I wanted to support the U.S. Marine Corps,” Chapman said. She began running after losing her mother to cancer two years ago. She added that her mother was with her in spirit as she ran the race.
Wyatt Boyd, 27, of Washington, D.C., was the second male runner to cross the finish with a time of 1:14:27. Boyd was overall winner of the 2011 Historic Half completing that event in 1:13:53. A second Fredericksburg runner, Brandon Dick, 25, rounded finished third in 1:15:26.
Katherine Marden, 31, of Arlington, Va., was the second woman to cross the finish line in 1:26:44, while Marine Capt. Erin Demchko, 27, finished third in 1:29:02. Demchko also was the top female finisher among 2,344 military members participating from all branches of the service. Another Marine, Nick Oltman, 24, also of Fredericksburg, received top military honors for the men.
Thomas Blackwell, 41, of Vienna, Va., finished in 1:19:58, the fastest time in the male masters category. Stefani Watterson, 42, of Alexandria, Va., finished the Historic Half in 1:33:41 becoming the top masters female.
Reuben Mwei, 26, a native of Kenya, broke the Semper Fred 5K course record finishing in 15:27, which was 32 seconds faster than the 15:59 record set by Omari Daughtridge in 2010. Molly Roohi, 31, of King George, V. broke the Semper Fred 5K among women, finishing the event in 19:03. The previous record of 19:37 was set by Robin Anneman in 2009.
Running the Marine Corps Historic Half and serving as the official starter, celebrity runner Alison Sweeney finished in 2:04:36. Sweeney is the host of “The Biggest Loser” and the daughter of a Marine. “It [Fredericksburg] is such a beautiful area. It was a fun run and you get such a real sense for the community.” Sweeney was motivated by a high five from a Marine at a water point who simply stated “Alison, you got this.” Sweeney topped her anticipated finish time by 10 minutes.