For the elite runners, the Governor’s Cup Road Race is about times.
For others, it’s about moments.
Here are some of both from the 42nd annual event held Saturday.
• Kiprono Kurgat, a Kenyan who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., set a half marathon Governor’s Cup record of 1:05:17. That beat the mark of 1:05:42 set by Travis Walter in 1996, the first year after the event’s race distance was switched to the half marathon. Just seconds after finishing, Kurgat wasn’t breathing hard as he noted it wasn’t one of his best races. He ran a 1:03:38 in Naples, Fla., in 2013.
• Kenyan Hillary Too, who also lives in Chapel Hill, finished second at 1:05:36. But South Carolinians did fine, with Michael Banks of Charleston, Eric Ashton of Columbia and Karl Walsh of Mt. Pleasant finishing out the top five. Banks, who won last year in his first attempt at a half marathon, beat last year’s time with a 1:05:50. He led the first six miles and ran with the Kenyans for much of the race. “I was close until the hills,” Banks said. “Then they put on a surge.”
• The Kenyan contingent that trains in Chapel Hill also provided the top two female finishers in the half marathon - Susan Jerotich (1:18:31) and Zipporah Chebet (1:18:38) - and men’s 8K winner Cleophas Ngetich (23:34.73). Columbian Alyssa Bloomquist was third among women in the half, and Greer’s Kimberly Ruck prevented a Kenyan sweep of all top awards by winning the women’s 8K in 27:25.15.
• With the temperature around 40 with a brisk breeze, about 40 runners huddled tightly in front of the State House before the race. They weren’t simply trying to keep warm. The Run For God group was praying for a safe race.
• Shortly after the half marathon started at 8 a.m. on Gervais Street, dozens of youngsters and their parents gathered on Sumter Street for the start of the Kids’ Cup, which involves student running 12.1 miles during their fall PE classes in school and the final mile of the half marathon distance at Saturday’s event. Ben Lippen School physical education teacher Rebecca Carlin gave important last-minute instructions to the 86 students from her school. “Look down,” she said, “and make sure your shoes are tied.”
• Ten-year-old Connor McCrudden ran away from the field in the Kids’ Cup, marking the third time in the past four years that a member of his family had won it. His brother Jackson won twice before aging out of the event. The idea of the Kids’ Cup is to encourage youngsters to run for fun and exercise. Carlin said it’s a change for some students, but not for others. Connor, for instance, stays so active he was heading straight from the race to a youth football game.
• Megan Old of Irmo set a personal best in the half marathon despite sacrificing a few seconds near the finish line to hug her cheering children, Samantha and Brady.
• Lily the dog stood on a curb near the finish line with a sign around her neck that read “Aunt Cathy. You can do it!!!” Lily was among a group cheering for Cathy Dahlinghaus.
• Skyla Geiger, Sergio Geiger and Tyquan Baxter waited with a sign for their mother, Lucretia Clark. The sign read “13.1 because she’s only half crazy,” but Clark didn’t crack a smile when she glanced over. She was pushing hard to the finish after more than two hours of running. She wore a broad smile later as she hugged the kids after the finish line.
• Shawn Chillag ran the entire half marathon with a stuffed turkey on his head. Several women ran the 8K with tutus, but the guys with the cutoff jeans and cowboy boots who were a hit in the 2013 race seemed to skip this one.
• Overall, the race drew 1,392 registered runners, including 524 in the half, 463 in the 8K, 173 in the 3-mile walk and 232 in the Kids’ Cup. For all, the times were important. For most, the moments are what they’ll remember.