Joseph Purpura of Pataskala, Ohio overcame high winds and the effects of a recent surgery yesterday to win the Capital City Half Marathon in 1 hour, 9 minutes.
Purpura, 25, a Watkins Memorial graduate who ran at Alabama and Kent State, earned the first major victory of his young career, entered the 13.1-mile race with low expectations after having surgery for a deviated septum about a month ago.
“I just wanted to go out and run and if I busted, nobody would know, and If I did well, that would be great,” Purpura said. “It is a great feeling to do something like this in your hometown, where you don�t have to travel far and you have a lot of friends and family there cheering you on.”
Ryan Spellman, 27, of Akron, finished second in 1:10:14, while 22-year-old Andy Knapp of Shelby was third in 1:10:54.
Purpura said a friend paced him through seven miles before he peeled off and ran by himself over the second half of the course, which took runners from downtown to the Ohio State University campus and back before finishing in the Columbus Commons.
“The wind was tough so that eliminated any chance of running fast,” Purpura said. “You just had to put your head down, focus and work on your form.”
Rebecca Michael, 29, of Akron, was the top female finisher in the half marathon and 11th overall at 1:18:06. Caroline Sanker, 25, of Columbus finished second in 1:22:19 and Tanya Thatcher, 42, of Mason, Ohio was third in 1:23:34.
In the Quarter Marathon, Alex Moore, 22, of Hilliard was the top male finisher in 38:35 and 57-year-old Gwynette Marschall was Worthington was top female finisher in 40:43.
In its 10th year, the Capital City Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon and Commit To Be Fit 5K drew a record 14,000 runners and walkers.