CORNER BROOK — It was blowing a gale on the waterfront Sunday morning, but it didn’t stop local runners from seeking a qualifying time for the 2013 New York City Marathon.
Runners from all over the province battled heavy winds and light precipiation at the 2012 Colemans Half-Marathon Sunday along Riverside Drive.
Thea Baird, a Placentia native who now makes her home in Conception Bay South, was the fastest female on the course with a final clocking of one hour and 41 minutes and finished 11th overall.
“It almost lifted me up and threw me away. It was brutal,” Baird said of the high winds she encountered on the waterfront following the 21.1-km race.
The 33-year-old is no stranger to long distance running, having run a marathon or two in the past, but this was her first time running a race organized by the Corner Brook Running Club. Baird is a member of a running group called Sisters in Fitness based in CBS, so when a fellow sister Melissa Eason of CBS moved to Corner Brook they decided to make the trek west to run the half-marathon. Baird was joined by 19 other members of the Sisters in Fitness group for the race.
Baird needed to register a time of one hour and 30 minutes to qualify for New York City Marathon, so she was shy of the mark. She admitted that earning a trip to New York was somewhat on her mind before she came out for the race.
“First it was the marathon because I was training a little bit and figured I would be able to do it, but you never know with the weather and how you’re going to feel,” she said.
She was very impressed with how the event was ran and, despite having to deal with strong winds along the waterfront, she gave the course route a big thumbs up.
“Absolutely beautiful. I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said.
While a fresh face took the spotlight on the women’s side, it was a familiar face — Corner Brook running sensation Lee Churchill — who took top honours on the men’s side with an impressive time of one hour, 21 minutes and 38 seconds.
Aubrey Sanders of Corner Brook finished with a final clocking of 1:24:37 to nab second place overall out of a field of 52 runners, while Corner Brook native Steve May claimed third place when he crossed the line in one hour, 29 minutes and 32 seconds.
Trent Burden of Steady Brook (1:30:09), Brian Dunphy of Stephenville Crossing (1:30:18), Michael Jones of Kippens (1:33:21), Bruce Rodrigues of Corner Brook (1:37:01), Hubert Rose of Massey Drive (1:38:33), Barry Manuel of Milltown (1:38:44) and Tom Knight of Corner Brook (1:39:32) rounded out the top 10 runners in the final timed event of the running season for the Corner Brook Running Club.
Deila Young of Grand Falls-Windsor (18th overall) was the second fastest female on the course, while Corner Brook’s Nancy Jewer (19th overall) snagged third place overall in the field of female runners.