Raymond Magut broke away from a lead pack of four late in the race to win the $5,000 first-place prize sponsored by Associated Orthopedics of Kingsport. His finishing time was 22:52, which was the slowest winning time since 2006 when Julius Kiptoo won in 22:59.
“I liked the course. I felt good about my race,” Magut said. “I will try to come back in the future.”
Judy Cherotich took home the women’s title in 27:57, which was the fastest winning female time since 2014.
“This was a fun race. I really liked it,” she said.
The first American male was Martin Hehir (Philadelphia) in 23:27, which was a personal best. His sixth-place finish breaks a two-year streak by ZAP Endurance athletes in the top five, but keeps a three-year streak of Americans finishing in the top eight.
Hehir was able to outsprint his Reebok and former Syracuse teammate Colin Bennie in the final stretches to gain top American honors by three seconds.
“It’s always a battle between Colin and I to see who will get to the finish line first,” Hehir said. “This was the first time in a long time that I had raced this late and I really liked how the streets were lined with candles. The atmosphere for this race was so much fun.”
Joseph Panga finished in second place (23:00) while Wilson Kibogo (third, 23:06), Simion Chirchir (fourth, 23:11) and James Ngandu (23:23) rounded out the top five for the men’s field.
Nicole DiMercurio (Lenoir, N.C.) was the second female in 29:09 and Kerri Toney (third in 30:21) rounded out the top three in the women’s competition.
Crazy 8s torchbearer Michael Smelser finished in 38:22 alongside his brother Mark.
The final registration number for the 8K was above 2,400, which is a rise from last year. The combined 3K and 8K registration exceeded 3,600. That was a rise from last year as well.