WESTON, Conn. – Meade Fogel expressed the sentiment of a lot runners in Sunday’s inaugural Reservoir Run in Weston.
“It was a nice course for the first 11 miles,’’ the women’s winner said Sunday. “After that, it got a lot tougher.”
Fogel won the women’s division of the 13.1-mile half marathon in 1:31:55, while Bristol’s Jason Dufour won the men’s race. The course was challenging, particularly the final few miles, when, just past the 11-mile mark, runners faced a hill eight-tenths of a mile long. The course flattened gradually before a few more smaller inclines awaited them heading into the Weston schools complex. The runners finished Olympic style, running about 300 meters on the track.
“You have to pace yourself on this course,’’ Fogel said. “The last hill makes it pretty hard.” Fogel won a tight battle versus Norwalk’s Julie Heaphy, who took second in 1:32:11. Wilton’s Beth Cristini was the third women in 1:33:01.
Dufor won in 1:20:20 and was followed by Brendan Atkins, of Old Lyme, in 1:20:46, and Andis Vitolins, of Monsey, N.Y., in 1:21:26.
More than 400 runners registered for the race, which had more than 300 starters. The race was delayed one week because of Hurricane Sandy. A lot of debris had to be cleared off of Valley Forge Road, the primary loop for the race, because of the hurricane.
“It was horrible down there,’’ said Donald Gary, who directed the race along with his wife, Phyllis. They are longtime members of Weston Kiwanis, the race’s sponsor. “Town crews and the National Guard went down and did a terrific job removing the debris. It was a disaster zone.”
Among the runners was Olympic gold medalist Taylor Rietzel. She was on the U.S. women’s eight rowing team that won gold in London in the summer. She finished in a solid 1:47:38.
“I know some people in the area, so I thought I’d give it a try,’’ Rietzel said. “It’s always nice to have something to train for. It’s a fun social sport.”
The weather cooperated this time around, and runners were greeted by a glorious morning with ideal temperatures and very little wind. The race supported Purple Heart Homes, the ELIMINATE project of Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis.
“We are incredibly with the way things turned out,’’ Donald Gary said.
Complete results are available online.