Weather doesn’t dampen spirits for half marathon
Neither wind, nor rain, nor stinging wind-swept beach sand could stop a hardy group of runners from taking on the Block Island Half Marathon course
But what did cut down on participants was a heaving ocean that cancelled most high-speed ferries and left many runners who opted for the day-of-the-race traditional boat wishing they had come over the day before, or skipped the boat ride altogether.
Recreation Director and race coordinator Dave Sniffen was up at 7 a.m. with Carter Brown cementing directional signage all over the island to securely mark the 13-plus-mile course that began at Fred Benson Town Beach, went north, then circled out over the west side of the island.
A beaming James Mburu, age 32, from New Jersey took first place with a time of 1:37:26, averaging 6- minute, 20-second miles despite the 25-knot winds. Mburu said he might have been even faster, “if it weren’t for the stunning views at every turn and hill, which slowed me down. This is one spectacular island. I can’t wait to come back and spend some time exploring,” he emphasized, nodding to his waiting friend.
Second place for the 72 finishers went to 52-year-old Martin Mickus, with a time of 1:30:16, and third place went to Daniel Roberts 1:32:02.
Paige Fehskens led the women runners with an excellent time of 1:37:26, followed by Sara Lapham at 1:38:35, and Jesse Rucquoi with a time of 1:55:51.
Block Island’s remarkable 75-year- old Richard Vila finished 16th overall with a time of 1:55:38, besting many half his age or younger.
Kevin Condon who “for vacation” is circling the Northeast running marathons in each state, at age 54, completed a race the day before in Connecticut. He
completed the hilly Block Island course in 2:03:27.