Sunday, April 7, 2013

Elite field shatters records in GO! St. Louis half-marathon

Aaron Braun crosses the finishing line of the GO! St. Louis half-marathon
 in record time, 1:03:13. Kathleen Nelson photo
Just how good was the field for the GO! St. Louis half-marathon invitational? Four men and five women improved on the course records of 1:05:01 and 1:14:13, respectively.

Leading the way was Aaron Braun, who set the new men's standard at 1:03:13. Jordan Chipangama was second at 1:03:22, followed by 2011 half winner Josphat Boit in 1:03:52.

"I started out a little slower than I thought I would," said Braun, who trains in Flagstaff, Ariz. "I think we all thought the pace was slow. After five or six miles, it was down to four or five of us."

But Braun didn't make the decisive move until the 12th of 13.1 miles. "I tried to stay up front and keep an honest pace," he said. "This is a tough course. The weather was perfect, but the hills were enough to slow you down. "

More used to running 5Ks and 10Ks than half-marathons, Braun said he had to take a different approach.
"Just stay patient," he said. "You have to keep the mentality that it's a hard workout."

Following his victory here, Braun plans to run the Boston Athletic Association 5K, one of the precursors to next week's Boston Marathon, then resume his track career.

Mattie Suver led the women home, finishing in 1:12:22, nearly two minutes better than the record set by Serena Burla in 2007. Tera Moody was second in 1:12:34, with Sarah Kiptoo finishing in 1:12:51.

"I thought it was fantastic," said Suver, who trains in Colorado Springs. "I had someone to run with all the way through. Tera really pushed me. I wouldn't have run that time today if I didn't have those women to run with."

Suver finished seventh at the USA Cross Country Champioships, held in Forest Park two months ago, and is getting used to the undulations in St.Louis.

"I think it's great to have mixed terrain," she said. "It keeps you thinking."

Suver said she ran with Moody, Maegan Krifchin and Addie Brady for more than nine miles, when she made a move. Moody was the last to stay with her.

"She stayed on my shoulder until the last mile," Suver said.

Braun and Suver each collected $10,000 from a purse that ranks fourth in the country among half-marathons.

"It beats what I made all of last year," said Suver, who put aside her career as a cross country coach to devote herself to running full-time.