By Megan Grindstaff
The 12th Annual Student Foundation Bearathon and 5K run took place this morning. This year, the race hosted nearly 2,300 participants, said director of Student Foundation Ashton Cooper.
First place overall for men went to Ben Chesang from Lawrence, Kan., representing the 35-39 age group with a time of 1:12:43.7. Jennifer Harney, also from the 35-39 division, came in first for the women with a time of 1:29:21.8.
The Austin native said she heard about the race on Thursday and registered the morning of the event. Harney completed her fourth full marathon in February and cannot count the number of half-marathons she has run. However, the notoriously challenging course and humid weather still provided a challenge, Harney said.
“It was one of the hardest races I’ve ever run,” Harney said. “But the volunteers were phenomenal. I was smiling the whole time.”
The winners from the Baylor Student division were Kingwood senior Emily Ballard and first year Baylor law student Shane Vreeland from Spokane, Wash.
After crossing the finish line, runners enjoyed live music and complimentary food from Torchy’s Tacos and Bear Nutrition. Airrosti Rehab Centers treated injuries and provided foam rolling and kinesiology tape so that runners could start their recovery right away. Runners also had an opportunity to browse.
At the end of the race, Mont Belvieu senior Erik Odom celebrated finishing his first half-marathon in a special way: by proposing to his girlfriend of three years, Ponca City, Okla., senior Kate Lee. Lee ran the Bearathon in 2013 and encouraged Odom to train with her during the months leading up to this year’s event.
“It takes a lot to run with someone for 10 miles at a time,” Odom said. “I think it did a lot for our relationship and it was important to her.” The couple plans to continue this new tradition by running the Oklahoma City Half-Marathon together in April.