Geoffrey Ngetich, Cyrus Korir and Zipporah Chebet arefriends who live and train in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“We train together,” Korir said, “But when race time comes, it’s every man for himself.”
The Kenyans were among the top seven finishers at the 2017 running of the Governor’s Cup half marathon Saturday in Columbia.
Ngetich came in first with a time of 1:08:10, with Korir not far behind. Korir took second at 1:08:29.
“It was hot, and very hilly. The temperature was high but I feel great, I won,” Ngetich said.
Temperatures were in the 70s at the 7 a.m. start, but the humidity made it slow going for a lot of runners.
Ngetich ran his second half marathon and finished more than five minutes behind his personal best of 1:03:50 in Strasbourg, France earlier this year. Saturday was Ngetich’s second career win – which came two weeks before at the Apple Blossom Valley 10K in Winchester, Va.
Korir finished four minutes short of his personal best 1:04:14 in the half marathon, set in Pittsburgh May 7.
Chibet, the race’s top female, came in seventh overall at 1:22:26. The time was good enough for her to claim her second consecutive women’s title in the Governor’s Cup and third in four years.
Chebet, 29, also ran behind her personal best half-marathon time of 1:13:51 set in Columbus, Ohio in October 2015.
The course proved a challenge for the winners, as well as the local and regional finishers.
Columbia resident Shawanna White was the top area finisher with a time of 1:24:50 – good for third place among the women. White, who has run competitively for 18 years, ran in the Governor’s Cup for the past three years. This year marked her second time running the half-marathon portion of the event, and the second time she finished third.
“I like it,” White said. “It’s not the easiest course. It’s not a course where you’re going to turn out a PR, but it’s challenging and you get to see different parts of Columbia.”
Greenville resident Brett Morley, who finished fifth overall behind Matt Galvin (1:12:13) and Ricky Flynn (1:13:23), said his 1:13:43 time could have been better.
“Today was brutal,” said Morley, whose personal record in the half marathon is 1:07:28. “Nowhere near that time, but I’m looking forward to training in the summer and competing again in the fall.”
Even though the hills and humidity took its toll, many said they’ll be happy to return.
“I’m going to come back until I eventually win it one day,” White said.
Men’s half marathon finishers
1. Geoffrey Ngetich, Kenya, 1:08:10
2. Cyrus Korir, Kenya, 1:08:29
3. Matt Galvin, Marietta, Ga., 1:12:13
Women’s half marathon finishers
1. Zipporah Chebet, Kenya, 1:22:26
2. Lacey Krout, Atlanta 1:23:21
3. Shawanna White, Columbia, 1:24:50