Good times at River Run

Written on Sep 21st, 2014 by , Category Events, News

River Run half-marathoners move along the Apple Capital Loop Trail in East Wenatchee on Saturday.


By Steve Maher

WENATCHEE — At 11 years of age, Ella Loewen is relatively new to the running world. Prior to Saturday’s River Run, she had completed two 5Ks in her life — Turkey on the Run and the Bundle-Up Run.

On Saturday, under glorious blue skies and summer-like temperatures, Ella had her best finish yet — second place in the women’s 5K — and completing 3.1 miles in an impressive time of 23 minutes and 44 seconds.

“I like to run because it is fun,” she said with a large smile. “But I felt like a noodle at the end.”

Her mom, Heidi Loewen, did her daughter one better — finishing first in the women’s 10K race in a time of 44:09.

Men's half-marathon winner Brent Biggar near the finish line on First Street in downtown Wenatchee on Saturday.

“The course was good,” Heidi said shortly after she and her daughter had reunited. “There were pretty fall colors and there was some shade along the way. I didn’t notice the heat as much as I am noticing the sweat in my eyes right now.”

The Wenatchee daugther-mom pair were two of about 365 people who registered for River Run, presented this year by Black Diamond Sports Therapy and held in conjunction with the Taste of the Harvest Festival. It was the largest turnout in the event’s 5-year history.

The River Run courses take participants from Pybus Public Market to the East Wenatchee side of the Columbia River and then back to the finish at the Taste of the Harvest Festival in downtown Wenatchee.

Race director Joel Rhyner credited volunteers for such a smooth event.

“Everybody said that the aid stations were great — great supplies, great support,” Rhyner said. “Obviously, the weather was spectacular and having packet pickup at Pybus is perfect because it is such an awesome venue. And then having the finish at the Taste of the Harvest, and all that is going on with that, is just super.”

In addition to Heidi Loewen, other race winners included Brent Biggar of Wenatchee in the men’s half-marathon; Jennifer Koga of Kelowna, B.C., in the women’s half-marathon; Phillip Hochwalt of Wenatchee in the men’s 10K; Armando Bendito of Wenatchee in the men’s 5K; and Christine Quantz of Soap Lake in the women’s 5K.

Biggar broke out to an early lead and was never threatened. He finished in a time of 1:31:04.

“When you run from the front like that, you never know what’s behind you, at least until the turnaround. Then you can evaluate,” he said.

Taking second in the men’s half was Peter Kuipers of Platte, S.D., in 1:38:32. Wenatchee’s Eddie Edwards was third in 1:40:23.

Koga, a Kelowna resident who traveled with her family to do the race and take in the Taste of the Harvest Festival, said she has slowed down as a runner after giving birth to her son. She was clocked in 1:45:38. Runner-up KaLeigh Krings of Lewiston, Mont., was timed in 1:50:20 and third-place finisher Laura Martinez of Cashmere in 1:50:39.

“It’s such a beautiful course,” Koga said.

Others had a similar take.

“It’s a beautiful landscape and a really fun run. I’ll definitely do it again,” said Bendito, the men’s 5K winner from Wenatchee.

Women’s 5K champ, Christine Quantz of Soap Lake, crossed the finish line in 21:12 and said afterwards it was a victory for her on several levels. For the past three years, she has been battling first a tibia stress fracture and then tendonitis.

“It was a tough race for me, my first race back in months,” Quantz said. “When you reach 40, things don’t repair as fast as they used to.”

For complete results:

River Run
Half-Marathon Men
1. Brent Biggar, Wenatchee, 1:31:04
2. Peter Kuipers, Platte, S.D., 1:38:32
3. Eddie Edwards, Wenatchee, 1:40:23

Half-Marathon Women
1. Jennifer Koga, Kelowna, B.C., 1:45:38
2. KaLeigh Krings, Lewiston, Mont., 1:50:20
3. Laura Martinez, Cashmere, 1:50:39

10K Men
1. Phillip Hochwalt, Wenatchee, 40:30
2. Ryan Los, East Wenatchee, 42:59
3. James Reynolds, 43:55

10K Women
1. Heidi Loewen, Wenatchee, 44:09
2. Amy Sheehan, Wenatchee, 44:43
3. Karen Weber, Wenatchee, 46:16

5K Men
1. Armando Bendito, Wenatchee, 20:28
2. Tom Hansen, 21:33
3. Vince Nethery, Ellensburg, 22:01

5K Women
1. Christine Quartz, Soap Lake, 21:12
2. Ella Loewen, Wenatchee, 23:44
3. Lindsay Kane, East Wenatchee, 24:06

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