Dare repeats as men’s champ
FAIRFIELD — After crossing the finish line at the Fairfield Half Marathon on Sunday, Timothy Milenkevich rolled over onto the Jennings Beach pavement, which drew the attention of nearby medical staff. The 37-year-old Ansonia resident quickly waved them away and held up his arms in triumph for setting a new personal record.
Milenkevich finished sixth overall and first for Connecticut runners on Sunday.
“I really enjoy this race,” said Milenkevich, who ran at St. Joseph High School and at St. Michael’s College. “It’s kind of the championship race for this area. In the spring you have the New Haven 20K, but this is the big Connecticut spring race.”
Kemal Birhanu Dare finished first overall at the Half Marathon and defended his crown from a year ago with a 1:06.29 finish.
“Today was very good,” said the Ethiopian-born, New Yorkbased Dare. “Everything was very nice.”
Dare pulled away from the pack around the 8-mile mark during the Westport portion of the race, despite dealing with some cramping. He won by nearly a minute and took home $500. Bekele Temesgen Habte was second (1:07.28, $400), while Gezahagn Gihina (1:07.30, $300) placed third. Teage O’Connor of Burlington, Vt. (1:09.56, $200) finished fourth and Ryan Stender of Brighton, Mass. (1:12.22, $100) was fifth.
Kasaye Bizuwark Getahun was the top female finisher (1:17.12) and won $500. Westport’s Kate Pfeffer was second in 1:23.15 and took home $400. Vernon’s Haley Hasty finished in 1:23.46 for third ($300), New Haven’s Lindsay Eysenbach finished in 1:25.23 for fourth ($200) and Stamford’s
Elizabeth Campbell rounded out the top five in 1:26.53
“It was really good race prep,” said Pfeffer, who plans to run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Mn., later this month.
Milenkevich finished at
1:14.41 and earned $150 for his best in Connecticut finish. He ran most of the race without any other nearby runners. New Haven’s Garrett Allington and Darien’s Daniel Lennox were the second and third male Connecticut runners, earning $100 and $50 respectively.
“It’s kind of cool because everyone goes nuts for you,” Milenkevich said. “You can’t see anyone in
front or anyone behind.”
The Faxon Law Fairfield Road Races attracted close to 4,000 runners between the Half Marathon and Saturday’s 5K. The event raised close to $100,000 for various charities and nonprofit organizations. After the race, organizers planned an attempt at a new Guinness World Record for largest outdoor shower on the beach at Jennings.
The 39th edition of the Half Marathon featured overcast skies and cooler temperatures, which runners said was ideal. Spectators, volunteers — and numerous bands — lined the race course that went through coastal areas of Fairfield and Westport.
“The best part is always people cheering,” said Eysenbach, who is attending
Yale Medical School. “It’s nice when you hit the little pockets of people cheering. Whenever you find them, it’s great.”
One person cheering on 19-year-old Ian Bartlett was his mother, Michelle. The former Fairfield Ludlowe football player decided to run in the Half Marathon this month before beginning classes at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
“My mom ran it a lot,” Bartlett said. “I actually started running the last couple miles with her. Eventually I did it.”
Trumbull resident Tom Donigan also had a special fan waiting for him at the finish line — his 2-year-old son Graham — who he carried in his arms over the final stretch.
“It was beautiful,” Donigan said.
Ethiopian Kemal Birhann Dare, of New York City, won the 2019 Fairfield Half Marathon on Sunday.