Local Athletes Beat the Heat to Take Top Honors at the 2015 MCM Historic Half

-Chris Leyen In a race that featured over 6,000 runners from 47 states and 9 countries, the top spot on the podium was reserved for athletes hailing from within 20 miles of the starting line.

In his first Historic Half, Stephen Harrison of Fredericksburg, VA took first place in the male division with a time of 1:14:59, four minutes ahead of the total field, while another local first time Historic Half competitor Britta Ultz Baxter of King George, VA took first in the female division with a time of 1:27:33. Another Virginian, Sara Lasker of Ashland, took third at 1:34:00.

--From MCM Official Press Release--
In second place for the men, Tyler Hilt, 20, arrived all the way from his home in Las Vegas to finish in 1:19:39. Nick Oltman, 27, of Surf City, NC completed his run just seconds after in 1:19:50. Oltman, an active duty Marine, not only took the third-place award but also received the BAE Systems-sponsored award for being the top active duty military finisher. BAE presented the top active duty military female finisher award to Amy Peterson, 33, of Dumfries, VA, also an active duty Marine.

Historic 10K winner Aaron Naraine, 16, also of Fredericksburg, VA, finished first in that event at 41:18. Anthony Brooks, 18, of Stafford, VA came in second completing his Historic 10K run in 42:54, while Steve Neumann, 38, of Alexandria, VA finished at 43:08, placing third.

The Historic 10K women runners were led by Chelsea Hill, 24, of Richmond, VA who finished in a flat 45:00. Following Hill in second place was hometown runner Edith Taylor Yonts, 34, who finished in 45:56 and Miho Cunney, 44, of Stafford who completed her 6.2 mile run in 48:15. Another 16-year-old took first place in the Semper Fred 5K as Tanner Jacobs of Stafford won the event in 19:43.

Kyle Rogers, 24, of King George, VA finished second completing the event in 19:58, and the youngest among the top finishers Nick Willging, 15, also of Fredericksburg, took third place.

Two Fredericksburg sisters took first and third place among the women running the Semper Fred 5K. Gabrielle Martinez, 20, finished first at 21:47 while her sister, Danielle Martinez, 18, arrived just a minute after in 22:47, placing third. Miossi Haviland, 38 of Alexandria, VA placed second completing her run in 22:35.
Historic Half Top Finishers: Male

Historic Half Top Finishers: Female

--Resume Original Content--
In addition to the formidable and increasingly famed climb beginning at Hospital Hill, the 7,777 finishers that completed the Historic Half, the Historic 10K, and the Semper Fred 5K this year fought against historic heat and humidity. While the thunderstorm that began Saturday evening abated by Sunday, the morning brought with it 70-degree temperatures and a dew point of 70, as opposed to the dew point of 40 experienced in 2014. (Thanks to Vic Culp, Executive Director of Race Timing Unlimited for the data) The lingering clouds provided some protection from the heat, but the threat the humidity posed to the athletes’ ability to recover remained. Of the top 10 expected male finishers, none of the runners finished under their expected time, and the average finish time for the top 10 men increased from 1:16:26 in 2014 to 1:21:08 in 2015.

But this is a Marine Corps Marathon event...
Soldiering up the hill regardless of the conditions was just another part of the unique experience running with the Marines Corps provided. From the onset, the enthusiasm and bravado exuded by the 1,600 active duty service men and women was palpable. Everything was big, from the gravitas of the starting command, echoing in triplicate from a pistol, musket, and 58mm howitzer to the course director's decision to finish atop a 300 ft hill that has characterized the event since its inception.

The energy of this years event was embodied in the enthusiastic staccato of the announcer, Marc Goldman, the Historic Half Operations Manager, who voice accompanied the athletes with with indefatigable vigor, pausing briefly to congratulate his son, Kyle Goldman (14) on his first Historic Half finish (2:08:53). The excitement continued from the starting gates down the hill, into suburban neighborhoods along the Rappahannock and Historic Downtown Fredericksburg. Drumlines and Marching Bands from local high schools attended the athletes on street corners, and folk bands greeted competitors along Old Mill Park and again in the heart of downtown. "It was a great event, very well organized with lots of people cheering lining the streets and corners of the downtown area," said overall race winner Harrison following his run. Several community members danced along Main St. in colonial garb, starkly contrasting the neon sea of passing runners. From the family that played "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky to the woman who brought out her garden hose to provide competitors with a quick sprinkling and respite from the heat, to the lady with a cowbell and kilt who made multiple trips up Hospital Hill to encourage runners through the last leg, the supportive community of Fredericksburg provides a unique experience that is serving to make the Historic Half a true destination running event.

This year, as we ran, we remembered as well. New for 2015 was the wear blue Mile, where volunteers from the wear blue team lined mile 12 reverently holding American flags and commemorating fallen service men and women from all service branches who have recently died, providing encouragement for runners to give more, and serving as a reminder of those who truly gave all.

For full results and more, including information on the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon, as well as how to register for the remaining 2015 MCM events , including Run Amuck on June 13, the August 22 Quantico Tri, the 2015 Turkey Trot, and the MCM 10K, visit MarineMarathon.com and follow the MCM events on Twitter at #runwiththemarines.