Monday, March 25, 2002

Sence, Tranter repeat in Mini-Marathon

By Ian Duthie
Enquirer contributor

John Sence was men's winner for the fourth straight year.
(Steven M. Herppich photos)
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        Even after winning the fourth straight Cincinnati 15K Heart Mini-Marathon that he has competed in, John Sence insists it never gets old.

        “This is the best. Running in your own hometown and winning is always gratifying,” said Sence after the race, holding his young son, Carson, instead of the winner's trophy he was given. “Today was hard on me and I didn't feel at my best, so it is nice to win.”

        The Mini-Marathon celebrated its 25th anniversary with an estimated 5,684 runners in the 15K, 10K and 5K races.

        Sence, who finished in 46:53, said the course, which starts in Fountain Square and leads out to Columbia Parkway before a turnaround point at Delta Avenue, sets up perfectly for him. More of a “strength runner” than a speedster, the hills on the course help wear down the fastest runners and favor endurance.

Jill Tranter was women's winner for the third straight year.
Men's 15k
Women's 15k
Men's 5k
Women's 5k
Kids' 2k
        In the women's division, Jill Tranter won her third consecutive Mini-Heart with a time of 57:05.

        “I'm starting to feel good again,” said Tranter, who has overcome two viral infections in the past year. “I didn't know if I could compete and win anymore. Whenever you win, it is special. This race means a lot to us all.”

        Tranter led all the way after the first quarter mile and never looked back, passing Michelle Kitze, who finished second, a minute and 51 seconds behind Tranter.

        “She really pushed me and stayed on my butt the whole way,” said Tranter after the race.

        Sence, a native of Milford, was a clear fan favorite. Throughout the 15K race, onlookers yelled his name and encouraged him to “bring it home.”

        Even the other runners admire his accomplishments, as a majority of those who finished soon after Sense went out of their way to congratulate him with a high five or pat on the back.

Gary Franke ran in a landshark costume.
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        “It is a difficult mind game you play with yourself when your body doesn't feel at its best,” said Sence, who said before the race that he wasn't satisfied with his training preparation.

        “Until almost the very end I thought T.J (Lentz) was going to catch me. This was definitely the most difficult one yet.”

        Lentz finished second, 14 seconds off the leader, but improved his time last year by nearly a minute.

        Sence, Lentz and third place finisher Henry Dennis made it a three-man race early, quickly breaking away from the pack less than a mile into the race.

        The runners experienced nearly perfect running weather as the temperatures were cool,with the sun a welcome guest this year as it peeked out from behind the clouds a number of times Sunday morning.

Men's 15k | Women's 15k | Men's 5k | Women's 5k | Kids' 2k
Mini-Marathon Notebook

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