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Monument Marathon scores big success in third year
October 02, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photos by Nathan Flower/Spectrum Photo - Gering’s Aaron Carrizales (No. 53), overall male winner of the half marathon with a time of 1:16:56, starts strong, amidst a pack of determined competitors. To the right of Carrizales is Nathan Stahl of Belvue, Neb. (No. 288), Ivan Marsh, of Ashland, Neb., (No. 181) and Geoff Groskopf of Scottsbluff, (No. 123). Groskopf achieved second place in the half marathon with a time of 1:29:14.

The Monument Marathon, now in its third year, set a new record on Saturday as 472 registered participants ran and walked their way through the Gering community.

The course of the 26.2 mile marathon and 13.1 mile half marathon runs from the Wildcat Hills south of Gering through the rural countryside around Scotts Bluff National Monument, ending at Five Rocks Amphitheater.

“It was a beautiful day with much warmer temperatures than we’ve had the first two years,” said Jennifer Rogers, Monument Marathon race coordinator. “This is an amazing community supported event. We had great spectators and volunteers along the route to cheer on the participants. The feedback we’re getting is that was the best part of the race.”

In the men’s division, Travis Bourett of Kearney posted a first place time of 3:10:09 in the full marathon. Gering runner Aaron Carrizales took the top spot for the second year in a row in the half marathon with a 1:16:56 time.

For the women, winning the full marathon was Ilonka Langeberg of Krommenie, Holland. Her time was 3:38:33. And Taylor O’Hollaran of Cheyenne, Wyo. won the half marathon, besting her previous record by almost seven minutes with a time of 1:32: 53.

“This year we had our first international runner participating,” Rogers said. She and everyone else were telling us what a beautiful course it was. Being cheered along the route made a difference for them and many of them are planning to come back for next year.”

She added local people like to get involved either as volunteers or spectators and watch the athletes achieve their goals. “The community and the volunteers see what a milestone that is and they realize they’re a part of something special,” she said. “This is the community’s event because we could never do it without all their help.”

The Monument Marathon not only generates publicity for the area among runners, but also among visitors. “The majority of the runners come here from outside the area and stay here, which is a big economic impact,” Rogers said. “A lot of people don’t know what we have in western Nebraska and they’re surprised to see what a beautiful place it is.”

The fourth annual Monument Marathon is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2015. For a list of all the runners and their results, visit the website www.monumentmarathon.com

Travis Bourret of Kearney approaches the finish line clenching the overall win in the full marathon with a time of 3:10:09.

Izaak Betjes (No. 1006) of Krommenie, Holland, is neck and neck with Scottsbluff’s John Seiler (No. 1092), who took second place overall in the full marathon with a time of 3:10:34.
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