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Kisorio holds off Ceja for win in half-marathon

  • Eagle correspondents
  • Published Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at 12:03 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, at 11:47 a.m.

Silas Kisorio’s running has taken him to exotic locations and given him plenty of time to see the sights.

A middle-distance runner, Kisorio’s races often don’t take longer than a few minutes. Less than three months ago, he won a 1,500-meter race in Belgium.

Kisorio had a little more track time in Wichita. In his first-ever half-marathon, Kisorio, racing out of Edmond, Okla., by way of Kenya, won with a time of 1 hour, eight minutes, 29 seconds. He held off Javier Ceja, a former Friends track athlete, by six seconds.

“It’s pretty much my debut, so I didn’t know how to pace myself,” Kisorio said. “I pretty much had to sit back and see what other guys were doing.”

By the end, Kisorio could only see what Ceja was doing. They ran close throughout the race before the rider of the pace bicycle veered off course and took Ceja with him.

That gave Ceja time to catch Kisorio, but down the stretch Kisorio regained the lead and held onto it to cross the finish line first.

“He was a guy who was leading me probably through five miles or so,” Kisorio said. “Then I ran with him for four or five miles … the bike lead made a wrong turn and (Ceja) caught me up again. We both ran (close) the last mile.”

Kisorio competed at Oklahoma Christian, graduating last year without ever setting his sights on a long-distance race. Now that he’s won one, he might change his long-term aspirations.

“It’s a good motivation,” Kisorio said. “I knew I could finish it, but I wasn’t sure that I could win it.”

Tough to follow — Last year’s champion, Jacob Buhler, not only couldn’t keep up with winner Mario Macias, but Buhler also couldn’t match last year’s winning time of 2:29:44.

Buhler, a 25-year-old resident of Oklahoma City, said last year that his legs locked up late in the race. In that race, he created a cushion that kept his discomfort from affecting his finish. This time, according to runner-up Trent Briney, Buhler became fatigued late and couldn’t fight it off.

“I would have been third, but the gentleman who was second (Buhler), had a rough go of it over the last 10 (kilometers, or about six miles),” Briney said. “I didn’t see him, and then the next time I saw him he was putting his hands on his knees. It lit the fire to chase after him, and it made it interesting.”

Top of his class — Keith Long is one of the most accomplished runners in Kansas for his age group. In 2011, he had the best age-graded times in five distances, including the 10-mile and the half-marathon.

Long, 55, isn’t about ready to stop chasing more accomplishments, though. He finished first in his age group Sunday with a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 56 seconds. The Beaumont native’s age-graded time was 1:08:31, best in the masters division.

To keep earning records, Long has to be patient. He wants to be the best in other age groups, too, but he must reach them first.

“I’m hoping (to keep going) into my 60s and maybe 70,” Long said. “If I could get all the age group records until I’m 75 or 80, that would be fantastic. If I can’t, then it’s been a good run and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Breaking through — Although McKale Davis has run in countless marathons and half marathons, she cannot win in Kansas. Davis, from Fairfax, Okla., said the female runners in Kansas races are always faster than her.

That was until Sunday, when Davis was the first female to finish the Prairie Fire half marathon with a time of 1:19.39.

“I run a lot in Oklahoma and I come up to Kansas sometime, and I never win in Kansas, everybody’s always so fast,” Davis said. “I’m very excited to come up and win a Kansas race. I never do that.”

Davis said she’s won a lot of half marathons in Oklahoma, and some in Texas when she ran for Texas Christian while pursuing her undergraduate degree, but Kansas runners typically keep her out of first place.

“I don’t know what it is. I think competition makes for faster races, and there are a lot of good women runners here, when they all show up on the same day it’s a fast race,” Davis said.

The wind and warm temperatures made the half marathon more difficult for the runners Sunday, but the hardest part of the run for Davis was the winding course — another Kansas trait according to Davis.

“There are always so many turns, and that is hard to do at the end of a long run,” Davis said. “It seems like I’m always turning, and turning, and turning.”

Sunday’s race was a milestone for Davis while she’s training for the Dallas marathon in December.

“I was just really shooting for a top three finish, and a good time and I’m really happy. I kind of got what I wanted out of it,” Davis said.

Still running — In 1972, Ralph Williams discovered running as a means to desperately fix his health. Forty years later, at the age of 76, Williams is still running. He finished the Prairie Fire half marathon Sunday in 2:48.50.

“It was my health, I was way overweight, smoking, the usual, I was just out of whack so I started picking up running after reading a book called ‘Jog for Your Life’ by Joe Henderson back in 1972,” Williams said. “There wasn’t a lot of people out on the roads running back then, so I got out and started running and have been doing it ever since.”

Williams ran in the Prairie Fire marathon last year, but an illness in his family kept him out of the full marathon this year.

“I really do like it, I really enjoy it, and I’m still hitting marathons and I enjoy that at 76. I’d like to keep doing that,” Williams said. “I like the half marathons, but I really like the challenge of the marathons.”

On Sept. 23, Williams ran in the Hutchinson half marathon, and placed second in his age group, something he’s gotten used to. Williams will run in the Oklahoma City marathon at the end of April, a race he has participated in for the past three years, finishing first in his age group twice.

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