Dare re­peats as men’s champ

The News-Times - - SPORTS - By Mike Cardillo

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

($100).

“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.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Ethiopian Ke­mal Birhann Dare, of New York City, won the 2019 Fair­field Half Marathon on Sun­day.

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