Kelly Takes Gold in God’s Country Marathon

2012 God's Country Marathon Winner A J. Kelly

POTTER CO. – The 2012 God’s Country Marathon was a memorable one, as Potter County welcomed 233 runners to God’s Country to “conquer the hill” in the 38th running of the full marathon, first running of the half marathon and second annual team relay. The Potter County Visitors Association (PCVA), organizers of the race, saw participation increase by 100 runners this year.

Among the 108 total finishers in the full marathon, A.J. Kelly, 30, of Altoona, PA took first with a time of 2:42:41, followed by two-time champion, Christian Byler, 28, of Prattsburgh, NY with a time of 2:53:38 and Brian Kealey, 22, of Richmond, VA at 2:59:43. The top women finishers in the full marathon were Caitlin Strahota, 26, of Wellsboro, PA at 3:25:31, Lindsay Kibler, 26, of Varysburg, NY with a time of 3:30:00 and Melissa Oswald, 35, of Reading, PA at 3:38:06.

Of the 87 runners to compete in the new half marathon, Bryan Morseman, 26, of Addison, NY finished with an incredible time of 1:12:29, just seven and half minutes off Olympic qualifying time (1:05:00). Morseman was followed by Mark Dexter, 49, of Lawrenceville, PA and Christopher Stone, 31, of Pittsburgh, PA, both with finishing times of 1:30:08. The top female finisher in the half marathon was Katie Chaput, 27, of Mount Hermon, MA with a time of 1:30:59, followed by Melissa Richardson, 34, of Wellsboro, PA at 1:39:06 and Rebecca West, 32, of Chambersburg, PA with a time of 1:42:01.

2012 God's Country Marathon Winner A J. Kelly

In the team relay event, Team Over the Hill of Coudersport, PA took first with a time of 3:05:22, followed by Team Wallace Clan of Coudersport at 3:17:59 and Team Asphalt Cowboy of Galeton, PA at 3:25:58. Eight teams competed in the relay.

While neither the men’s or women’s course records were broken in the first year of the full marathon course record challenge, half marathon champion, Bryan Morseman, will be a runner to watch in the future. His pace of 5:32/mile in the half marathon was the fastest of all runners. That pace in a run of the full marathon would set a course record. Morseman said he plans on returning to run the full marathon in 2013.

A runners’ survey currently being conducted indicates a very high level of satisfaction with this year’s race, and runners have noted special appreciation for the many wonderful volunteers that helped to make the event a success. Many runners commented on the outstanding organization and beautiful scenery of the race and how motivating it was that water station volunteers cheered them on by name, as well as how much they appreciated that their names were announced at the finish line.

“Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers that worked so hard to take care of us runners,” said Nancy Kinner, of Alba, PA. “I had a great first marathon and definitely plan on running again next year.”

Half marathoner, Bob Bernardy of Wellsboro, PA said, “Beautiful course, friendly people. This is a well run race.”

“It was one of the best organized marathons,” said Anuradha Kalidindi of State College, PA, who competed in the full marathon. “Amazing volunteers, breathtaking sceneries and heart breaking hills. I loved every minute of it.”

PCVA and race organizers thank the many volunteers who went the extra mile to make the God’s Country Marathon a memorable and positive experience for the runners, as well as the community for its support and cooperation throughout the event.

Organizers offer a special thank you the sponsors of this year’s event: Sweden Valley Inn, Hotel Crittenden, Twin Tier Linen Services, Oak Hall B&B, McDonald’s, Miller’s Mountain Retreat, Runner’s World, Pittsburgh Corning, Potter County Outfitters, Mitchell’s Accounting Services, Bollhorst Bussing, Jacques’ Spas & Pools, Black Forest Broadcasting, Close’s Lumber Co., Coudersport Animal Health Center, Frosty Hollow B&B, Lagrew Printing, Kightlinger Motors, Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, Costa’s Foods, Kaytee’s Family Restaurant, A Way Out and Olga Gallery, Café & Bistro. Special thanks also go out Jim and Jolee McGarvey for a fantastic job as the finish line announcers, as well as race director, Kim Mitchell.

With the success of the event, organizers look forward to welcoming even more runners next year and continuing to make what is a great race even better.

Complete results from the marathon, half marathon and relay can be viewed at: http://runhigh.com/2012RESULTS/R060212CA.html.

This year marked the 38th annual running of the God’s Country Marathon. The God’s Country Marathon is a USA Track and Field Sanctioned Event and Certified Course and a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon. For more information, visit www.godscountrymarathon.com.