NEWPORT — Those who completed the Newport Half Marathon trudged up Memorial Boulevard cloaked in silver post-race capes late Sunday morning. They didn’t seem to mind the steep incline to their cars, though they had just trekked 13.1 miles.
“It was very scenic,” Angela Schondek of Boston, Massachusetts, said of the route. She ran the half marathon with her sister, Christine Schondek, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and their friend Lenna Quakenbush of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Asked why they opted to participate in the Newport Half Marathon, Quakenbush laughed and said, “I made them.” Her friends didn’t seem to regret the decision, though. Their smiles were wide and they spoke with an excited breathlessness, perhaps partially due to their completion of a physical challenge, but also maybe due to the sunshine and light breeze on the October morning.
Chris Alberico of Durham, Connecticut, was the first to complete the Newport Half Marathon in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 38 seconds, according to the race results posted online Sunday. Reid Williams of Clemson, South Carolina, was the first to complete the Amica Newport Marathon in 2:56:18.
Allison Schafers of St. Louis, Missouri; Stephanie Lunning of Kansas City, Missouri, and Stasia Lehmann of Tampa, Florida, checked Rhode Island off their race list Sunday after completing the half marathon. The women are aiming to complete races in every state in the country.
They touted the beauty of the route that goes along the Ocean Drive and Sachuest Beach and the support of onlookers.
“It’s fun to see local people” coming out and offering support, Lehmann said.
“We don’t have the ocean” in Albany, New York, said Donna Lustenhouwer, a resident of the capital city. She ran the half marathon Sunday. “It’s so gorgeous” in the Newport area, she added. She’s familiar with the half marathon route, noting that 30 years ago she started riding her bike on that very course.
The Amica Newport Marathon and Half Marathon began on Easton’s Beach and continued up Memorial Boulevard, through a part of downtown Newport, to the Ocean Drive, onto Bellevue Avenue and back to the beach. The half marathoners finished there and the marathoners continued toward Middletown, down Sachuest Point, running past the Norman Bird Sanctuary with a final push up the hill at Surfer’s End and finishing at Easton’s Beach in Newport.
“Lots of good crowd support,” said Natalie Waller of Atlanta, Georgia. Waller ran the half marathon. Judy Somers of Miami, Florida touted the “old historic homes” she ran by on her half marathon route.
“The hills are tough,” said Andrew Taylor of Providence, who completed the Amica Newport Marathon. He finished the 26.2-mile route in 3 hours and 45 minutes, he said. He’s ran several other marathons in the past, but said the Newport Marathon is in his “top three” hardest.
“It was New England hilly,” said Jennifer Procopio of the Washington, D.C., area. She completed the marathon course for her 22nd marathon.
Natalie Martin of Newtown, Connecticut, showed off her blue marathon ribbon shortly after crossing the finish line. She joked about coming in first place, laughing as she said it was tough but somebody had to do it.
“Newport’s so beautiful,” she said, in all seriousness. “The crowd was great.”
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