Monday, May 07, 2001

New marathoners take local spotlight


LeCates, Hopper top Cincinnati finishers

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's top marathoners, John Sence and T.J. Lentz, weren't in the Flying Pig field. That allowed the area focus Sunday to shift to two up-and-comers.

        Scott LeCates of Walnut Hills finished fifth (2:35:53) in his second career marathon and Barrett Hopper of Fairfield placed sixth (2:37:36) in his first-ever marathon. The only other Cincinnatian in the men's top 10 was Andy Jones, 39, a marathon veteran who finished seventh in 2:41:39.

        Neither is a Cincinnati native. LeCates, a native of Dayton, Ohio, attends graduate school at Xavier and coaches St. Bernard High School's track and cross country teams. Hopper transferred to Cincinnati three years ago from Charlotte, N.C., with his employer, Cognis Corporation.

        LeCates placed fourth last year in the Pig in 2:36:10.

        “I usually just run 5K or 10K (events), but I start marathon training at the beginning of January,” LeCates said. “The formula works for me, and works with a minimum amount of time for training.”

        Hopper had planned to retire from running at the end of last year because of a series of injuries caused by years of track training. The longest event he had run was a 10K before running a half-marathon a month ago in Xenia.

        “It (the distance) was a stretch,” Hopper said. “I was strong for 20 miles, then I hit the wall. But I was real pleased with everything.”

        Hopper was animated at the finish line, pumping his fists and doing a little dance. He also was the top finisher for the winning Cincinnati team in the City Cup Challenge.

        CHALLENGE CHAMPS: Cincinnati defeated Columbus, Akron and Louisville in the inaugural City Cup Challenge. Five men and five women represent each city. The winner is the lowest combined time of the top three men's and women's finishers from each city.

        Cincinnati's runners totaled 17:55:11, with Columbus more than 11 minutes behind (18:06:25). Akron was third in 19:42:27.

        The Cincinnati men were Hopper, Phil Helbig, Tom Zimmerly, Bill Valenzano and Dave Plank. Its women were Cheryl McKettrick (eighth in the overall race in 3:12:41), Laurie Rueve (ninth in 3:13:30), Betsy Armentrout, Emma Bracey and Marianne Babiak. OTHER CHAMPS: LaVerne Achenbach, 58, no longer sees the same faces he did when he began competing in wheelchair marathons 21 years ago.

        The Snellville, Ga., resident, fourth in the Pig last year, won Sunday in 1:53:47. Runner-up Geraldo Maldonado of Chicago finished in 2:16:13.

        “Very few guys I raced against in the early days are still out there,” Achenbach said. “It's tough to keep the level of competition up. As old as I am, these take their toll.”

        Tim Fraleigh of Ann Arbor, Mich., won the men's 5-mile race in 26:37. Dennis Fulmer of Cincinnati was second in 26:54, two seconds ahead of Andrew Holton of Aurora, Co.

        Jill Tranter of Florence, won the women's 5-mile run in 28:51. Linda Jeanmougin (31:23) was second and Kerry Decalesta Lee (31:43) third; both women are from Cincinnati.

Flying Pig results, photos, stories



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