NDN Half Marathon
Reuben Mwei won the NDN Half Marathon
NAPLES — The African dominance continued in one race and ended in the other early Sunday at the Naples Daily News Half Marathon.
Reuben Mwei became the sixth straight African winner of the men's race when he came from behind to beat George Towett down the stretch. Mwei, a Kenyan professional runner who trains part of the year in Georgia, finished in one hour, four minutes and 33.7 seconds. He was five seconds ahead of Towett (1:04:38.8), the 2008 winner who led most of the race.
On the women's side, Stephanie Pezzullo became the first American winner of the half marathon since 2007. The 29-year-old led most of the way and finished in 1:13:12.2, more than four and a half minutes ahead of her nearest competitor.
Tezata Dengersa of Washington was second in 1:17:49.5. Race regular Sonja Friend-Uhl, seventh last year, took third in 1:18:00.9
It was the first time running in Naples for both winners. This was the 24th running of the event, which started in 1989.
There were 1,979 people who registered for the race, about 50 less than last year's record field according to Half Marathon director George Dondanville. It was a chilly 43 degrees for the 7 a.m. start of the race, which men's winner Mwei said contributed to his time being almost a minute and a half slower than last year's men's champion.