• 57°

Kenya’s Eliud Ngetich breaks Winter Flight 8K record

By Jeanie Groh

jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

The sun shone brightly Sunday afternoon, warming the faces — and feet — of those participating in the 32nd annual Winter Flight 8K road race.

Music filled the air at the starting line on Catawba College’s campus as 326 runners prepared to take on the five mile course, including 21 year-old Eliud Ngetich from Eldoret, Kenya.

Ngetich’s participation was highly touted by the Salisbury-Rowan Runners club as being a potential threat to break the course record of 23:35 which was set in 1988 by Dutch Olympian Hans Koeleman.

Most of the runners arrived by 1 p.m., and checked in at Goodman Gym.

A fun run kicked off the day’s events at 1:30 p.m., where children could participate in a two-lap race around the track at Catawba’s Shuford Stadium.

The main event started at 2 p.m., on Yost Street, in front of the stadium’s main ticket booth.

After a brief talk from organizer David Freeze and the National Anthem, runners began making their way straight to Statesville Boulevard, where they ran west until taking a right onto North Milford Drive. The participants continued until the street intersects with Jake Alexander Boulevard, then turned right and followed it to West Innes Street. The course turns right, onto West Innes and then right again onto North Park Avenue, to enter back onto Catawba’s campus.  The runners then turned left, back onto Yost Street, before turning right into the stadium.

The final leg of the race is on the stadium track, looping around to the home grandstand and the Salisbury-Rowan Runners’ finish line.

Ngetich proved to be the highlight of the event when he finished in a time of 23:07, setting the course record and beating the former mark by 28 seconds.

“I am so happy,” he said after the race.

Ngetich is using races like Winter Flight as part of his training.

“It’s about speed, stamina, and endurance,” Ngetich said. “Right now I’m really focused on my speed.”

His speed paid off as he averaged four minutes and 37 seconds per mile.

Ngetich classifies himself as a marathon runner, and participates in three marathons each year.  Currently Ngetich trains three times per day, every other day and twice daily in the days between.

Rowan County’s first male runner to finish the race was Jonathan Martin of China Grove. Rockwell native Adam Cornelius came in just a few seconds behind Martin.

“I was trying to finish in 30 minutes and I got 30:02,” Cornelius after he crossed the finish line.

Wind appeared to be the issue for many runners, including Kelly Lowman from Faith.  Lowman was the first Rowan County female to complete the course.

Lowman, a veteran of many races, including the 2013 Boston Marathon, finished as the third overall female but won the Master’s division for runners over 40 years old.

Both Cornelius and Lowman said the hardest obstacle of the race was fighting the wind.

“It was unpleasant,” said Cornelius.

“I personally like the warm weather,” Lowman said, but added that the wind made it harder.

This year’s race also featured 88-year-old Byron Logan of Hickory, a World War II veteran.

Comments

Local

Natoli promoted to assistant county manager, will retain human resources director title

Education

Attendance restriction lifted for RSS graduation ceremonies

Business

Rowan Chamber of Commerce will host in-person Power in Partnership on Thursday

Business

Rowan EDC will undergo name change, alter board requirements with updates to bylaws

Nation/World

Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Nation/World

Supreme Court to take up major abortion rights challenge

Nation/World

Biden boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses

Crime

Man charged for stowing away on Norfolk Southern train, impeding railroad operations

Local

Group will protest treatment of Georgia woman during 2019 traffic stop

Crime

Man overdoses at Piedmont Correctional Institute

Crime

Sheriff’s Office: Two men escape from jail, found in bushes on Fulton Street

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue be resurfaced?

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan’s lawmakers pass 140 bills into the opposite chamber before deadline

Local

Police chief to present use of force policy; city manager to present 2021-22 budget

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on charges of felony larceny, possession of stolen vehicle

Coronavirus

CDC director says mask turnaround based solely on science

News

Catawba College hosts three in-person commencement ceremonies

Local

With high case loads causing numerous staff departures, Child Protective Services seeks more positions

Education

Livingstone College graduates celebrate ‘crossing the finish line’ during commencement celebration

Coronavirus

Rowan sees 4 new COVID-19 deaths as mask mandate lifted, vaccines administered continue decline

Local

Spencer is latest town updating its development ordinance

Local

Salisbury native Kristy Woodson Harvey makes NY Times bestseller list

Local

Board of Commissioners will convene for third time in May

Business

Biz Roundup: Salisbury, Kannapolis among recipients of Region of Excellence Awards