Local runners find Bigfoot at the finish
Racers flood the Salmon River to take part in the Huckleberry Half-Marathon
WELCHES – Kelly Oswalt only had one thing in her sights. As Oswalt, 54, approached the finish line of the Huckleberry Half Marathon and 10k in her sunglasses, polka-dot tank top and knee-high, fluorescent yellow socks, she lowered her shades to find what she was looking for. It wasnt clock displaying her time or the Sandy High cheerleaders pumping their pom-poms. She had her eyes on the prize – a laser-cut, wooden Bigfoot medal.
I came for Bigfoot, Oswalt jested. Thats why Im here.
Gresham-resident Oswalt was one of many runners thrilled at the unusual award given to the races finishers. She felt the unique award matched the race as a whole.
I liked the hills. I guess Im weird like that, Oswalt said. The scenery was gorgeous. I could feel the higher elevation. I was a little more winded than I normally am, but I feel like the race went very well.
Oswalts feelings about the race were shared by her fellow runners. Aside from the pocket-sized Bigfoots, the scenery and atmosphere stood out to most of the participants.
Oswalt was among the first group of women to complete the 10k on Saturday morning. She finished 26th overall and was one of 18 women to finish in under an hour (58:19). She took third in her age group.
Greshams Nick Chianello, 21, won the 10K in 50:51 36 seconds ahead of any other runner. The highest female finisher from Gresham was 27-year-old Kristin Rohr who took 11th place overall and was third in her age group.
In the half marathon, Karim Shakalia from Portland was the first to finish, hitting the line in 1:15:36. Not far behind Shakalia was 17-year-old Isaac Mitchell, who will be a senior at Sandy High. For Mitchell, the Huckleberry Half Marathon served as a tune-up race for the upcoming cross country season.
Mitchell suffered a stress fracture last year which kept him from competing, so he was ecstatic just to be out on the course.
It was a great race. Just being out in Gods beauty, it was a lot of fun, Mitchell said. I heard about this a couple weeks ago and thought it would be a good workout.
Mitchell had hopes of finishing in one hour, 20 minutes, and he succeeded in that goal with 55 seconds to spare. His time of 1:19:05 was third overall and the fastest for any runner under the age of 24.
I am really happy with how things went. Im just glad to be fit and injury-free again, Mitchell said. Its nice to be here using the gifts God has given me.
Katrina Weisbecker won the womens half-marathon in 1:41:35, while Kirsten Svaren won the womens 10K in 51:27.
Other local runners with high finishes included Tiah Petrucci from Sandy who finished first in the female 35-39 division and fourth overall in the 10k (52:38). Tulla Walter, 48, finished fifth. His time of 53:09 topped the 45-49 division. Another Sandy High product, Brody White, finished 12th in the 10k (55:57) and led the under-19 division. Tim Petrucci took 10th place in the half marathon and won the 35-39 division (1:35:06).
Yvette Campos and Arielle Gardner out of Gresham performed well in the half marathon. Campos, 46, claimed second place in the female 45-49 division with a finish of 1:51:27. Despite being just 15 years old, Gardner crossed the finish line with a time of 2:00:06, second-best among women 19 and younger.
The city of Estacada was represented nicely by Phil Lingelbach in the 10k. Lingelbach, 71, came in at the 1:02:07 mark to finish 51st.