Monday, December 28, 2009

Benford wins Ryan Jobes Memorial 5K

By JIM BUTTA-Parkersburg News and Sentinel

POSTED: December 20, 2009

WILLIAMSTOWN-The weather outside might have been frightful, but that didn't stop more than 200 runners and walkers from participating in the Ryan Jobes Memorial 5K run/walk Saturday morning.

"Ryan (Jobes) was a very special person to a lot of different people," University of Richmond head coach Steve Taylor said. "The fact that so many people came out on a day like this to remember him shows the impact he left on them."

Winning the 3.1-mile race for a second time was 22-year old Andrew Benford.

The former Ravenswood High School standout, who represented the United States at the World Mountain Running Championships two years ago and became the highest placing junior (under 20) ever for the American team with a 12th place effort, led from start to finish in edging out former St. Marys runner Dustin Hall by three seconds (15:27.14 to 15:30.56).

"This (race) has become part of my Christmas holidays," explained Benford. "Ryan was a big part in my decision to run at Richmond and running in this race allows a lot of us to keep him in our memories."

Finishing third overall was 24-year old Hunter Willis of Johns Island, S.C. (16:57.49), while fourth place went to 27-year old Eli Schaub (17:08.26). Marietta's Josh Mickle crossed the finish line in fifth in a time of 17:18.48.

Winning the women's title was 29-year old Amber Hanes from Belpre. The head coach of the Eagles' girls basketball team covered the distance in 21 minutes, 52.49 seconds.

"I just started running a few months ago," explained Hanes. "My sister wanted me to train for the Columbus Half Marathon so I've been getting in as many local runs as I could to get myself prepared for that."

Hanes proved to be more than prepared on Saturday as she defeated Vienna's Kaylee Williams by nearly 30 seconds. The 14-year old Williams finished in a time of 22:20.26. Third place went to 33-year old Jessica Harris (23:37.53) while fourth place belonged to 25-year old Lindsey Honaker (23:57.95).

Rounding out the top five was 24-year old Stacy Ramsburg from Lancaster with a time of 24:00.48.

"I actually canceled basketball practice today because we felt like the weather was going to be too bad," said Hanes, who is in her third season at the helm of the Eagles' program. "I didn't really run my best, but with the conditions the way they were, I'll take this."

Runners from as far west as Colorado were in attendance for the fourth annual Ryan Jobes Memorial, which is named in honor of the former Williamstown cross country and track standout who lost his life in an auto accident while returning home from the University of Richmond for the holiday break in 2004.

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