The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Runners beat the heat to honor veterans, fallen in Hero Half


May 30, 2017

Jorel Leyba, 13, left, carries an American flag as he runs along Elm Street with Nathaniel Coleman during the 8K (4.5 mile) race that was part of the Hero Half Marathon race series Saturday morning, May 27. They were among many runners who turned out for the event, which included a 1.3-mile run/walk, the half marathon and a host of other events, including recognition of veterans in a variety of ways.

Tanner Sayers of Sweet Home won the Hero Half Marathon Saturday, May 27, in his first attempt at the 13.1-mile distance.

Sayers, who is finishing his sophomore year in high school, led a field of 10 runners from the starting line to finish in 1:34.57 on a day that was unseasonably warm.

It’s more than just a race. County Commissioner Will Tucker, center, reads a proclamation honoring veterans William “Mac” McCartin, left, Otis King and Ric Olson, to the right of Tucker, as members of the Sportsman’s Hoilday and Lebanon Strawberry courts stand with medals and certificates, prior to the start of the races. At far right is organizer and race director Rachel Kittson-Maqatish.

Race Director Rachel Kittson-Maqatish said 193 runners participated, including 73 8K contestants and 110 people who finished a 1.3-mile run/walk on the campus of Community Chapel, where the races started and finished.

It was the fifth year for the race series, founded by Kittson-Maqatish in 2013 in support of a grieving family, who included her own son-in-law, after the death of a young soldier from Boring, Cpl. Keaton Coffey was killed in action at age 22 in Afghanistan on May 24, 2012, a few weeks before he was scheduled to return home from his final deployment and six weeks before what would have been his wedding day.

The 8K race winner Saturday was Moses Wakefield, 18, a student at Damascus Christian, who ran 27:24 on a course that was just over 4½ miles in length. Wakefield was second in the 8K last year, finishing ahead of Sayers in that race.

Marybeth Davis, whose city of residence was not listed, was the top female finisher in the half marathon, sixth in 2:02.03.


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