By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer
Traffic came to a stand still on Sunday as hundreds of runners passed through the streets of Clinton during the third annual Clinton Half Marathon race.
More than 450 athletes took part in the race Sunday, with Joel Frye taking home the first-place trophy and $100 in prize money in the men’s overall catagory and Jackie Means, of Muscatine, topping the women’s division in her first appearance at the Clinton race.
“This is the first time I’ve participated in the Clinton Half Marathon and actually, I registered today,” Means said. “I really enjoyed the course. It was really challenging but beautiful and easy to follow.”
As other participants began to trickle into Ashford University Field for the post-race party, satisfaction with the course wasn’t the only thing racers were pleased with.
Weather conditions were ideal Sunday as an overcast sky offered relief from the sun and a light breeze kept runners cool and comfortable during the 13.1-mile race.
“The weather has been very pleasant today,” race director Dr. Brian Peck said. “It’s been a great day to run.”
Peck and his race committee have worked for several months to organize the event, making sure each piece falls perfectly into place when the airhorn sounds, and this year they were pleased with the outcome.
According to race committee member Angela Bengtson, this year’s race generated the greatest numbers in attendance in the event’s three year-history, with participants representing 13 different states and, for the third year, Canada.
“There is such a huge range of abilities out here today,” Bengtson said. “But everybody who crosses that finish line has accomplished something, and that’s really amazing.”
Each of those accomplishments were honored Sunday as racers received a medal for participating upon crossing the finish line at the Clinton County Courthouse.
Along with the participation medals, the top three finishers of each catagory of the 5K, 10K and half marathon received additional medals during the post-party at Ashford University Field.
But, the best reward for Peck and his race committee is seeing the race unfold and watching as participants cross the finish line.
“It’s really great to see people smiling as they cross the finish line,” Peck said. “There are a lot of moving parts involved to bring something like this all together and so far these past years have been good.”
Peck hopes to continue that success, growing the event to become one of the best half marathon races in the state, and even the whole Midwest region.
“There is just so much positive energy with these races,” Peck said. “It’s so thick you could almost grab it.”