Ndereba, Johnson Survive Rain, Hills to Capture Third Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon
October 7, 2012
ran head-to-head for much of the third edition of the Woodrow Wilson
Bridge Half Marathon today. As all of their battles have ended, it was
Ndereba who got the best of Cabada on a cool drizzling day.
It took Ndereba, a staple on the U.S. road race circuit, 65 minutes
and 15 seconds to win the point-to-point 13.1-mile race which begins
at the Mount Vernon home of George Washington, crosses the famous
Woodrow Wilson Bridge and concludes at this modern resort called
National Harbor. Cabada trailed by 45 seconds.
Kellyn Johnson, on the other hand, made quick work out of the women’s
race, becoming the first American woman to triumph here. She took a
commanding lead from the start and earned her victory by a margin of
exactly two minutes in 1:13:24. For the 26-year-old from the
adidas-McMillan Elite training group in Flagstaff, the $5,400 in prize
money was her largest payday by far.
“I was definitely excited to win,” said Johnson, who broke the tape
just 13 seconds off her personal best from the Houston Half in January
and 40 seconds off the course record set last year by Bekelech Bedada
of Ethiopia. “I haven’t won a race in a long time, granted I’ve been
running in mostly big races. I was hoping to run faster, to break that
With no women to push her today, Johnson left Washington for Boston
with some energy to spare as she will line up Monday morning for the
Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women.
“I thought the course was great,” she said. “It was really pretty. It
was definitely a lot of work today but I feel great.”
A pair of Ethiopians – Aziza Aliyu Abate and Wayinshet Abebe Hailu –
followed in second (1:15:24) and third (1:15:44). Abate was second
here to Samuel’s sister Catherine Ndereba in the inaugural running in
2010. Johnson’s teammate and 2011 RRCA Roads Scholar Megan Herrick
placed fourth in 1:18:19. Michelle Miller of Damascus, Md., rounded
out the top five in 1:19:57.
Like Johnson, Cabada benefitted financially from the ongoing efforts
of Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon officials to bolster American
athletes through the race. Last year, four $1,300 bonuses were awarded
to Americans qualifying for January’s Olympic marathon trials.
This year, the race set an additional $5,400 in American-only money
plus an offer to double any prize money earned by an American who
finished in the top 10 of the 2012 Olympic marathon or Track & Field
By virtue of her 10th place effort in the U.S. Olympic 10,000-meter
trials, Johnson earned herself a double payout ($1,500 first open
woman, $1,200 for first American) for a total of $5,400. As well, with
his seventh-place finish in the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials, Cabada
doubled the $1,950 he earned ($750 for open second, $1200 for first
American) for a total check of $3,900.
Cabada did some of the work up front along with Ndereba and eventual
third-place finisher Deteje Girma as the rolled up the historic George
Washington Memorial Parkway to the bridge at 8 ˝ miles. “The three of
us, we were all together,” said Cabada, a 30-year-old who owns the
U.S. 25K record and trains in Boulder. “I was going to make my move on
the bridge but I couldn’t get away from them. We were together going
up the hill at National Harbor but towards the top of the hill [Girma]
dropped. Down the hill right before 12 miles, Samuel was turning over
faster than me. He got a 5-10 meter gap that I couldn’t close.”
Girma ran 1:06:08, with American Frank Devar (1:06:32) and
BirhanuTadesse (1:06:53) in tow.
The 35-year-old Ndereba and Johnson also were awarded the RRCA
Virginia State Half Marathon titles, as were Masters winners Sergey
Kaledin of Russia (1:15:43) and Kristin Markowicz of Arlington
Winners of the Potomac Valley Association/USATF Half Marathon
Championships were Miller and Devar. Masters champs were Markowicz and
The race also hosted the third NIB Visually Impaired Half Marathon
Championships sponsored by the National Industries for the Blind.
Aaron Scheidies of Seattle (1:18:07), Matt Rodjom of Alexandria, Va.
(1:22:36) and Amy McDonaugh of Irmo, S.C. (1:23:58) led their peers,
earning $300, $200 and $100 respectively.
Some 3,425 runners registered with 2,364 finishers.
1. Samuel Ndereba, KEN, 1:05:15, $1,500
2. Fernando Cabada, US/CO, 1:05:40, $3,900
3. Deteje Girma, ETH, 1:06:08, $500
4. Frank Devar, US/VA, 1:06:32, $950
5. Birhanu Tadesse, ETH, 1:06:53, $175
6. Christopher Mills, US/VA, 1:07:52, $500
1. Sergey Kaledin, RUS, 1:15:43, $200
2. John Piggott, US/VA, 1:16:00, $150
3. Joel Kinnunen, US/GA, 1:23:08, $100
1. Kellyn Johnson, US/AZ, 1:13:24, $5,400
2. Aziza Aliyu Abate, ETH, 1:15:24, $750
3. Wayinshet Abebe Hailu, ETH, 1:15:44, $500
4. Megan Herrick, US/AZ, 1:18:19, $950
5. Michelle Miller, US/MD, 1:19:57, $575
6. Susanna Sullivan, US/VA, 1:20:53, $500
1. Kristin Markowicz, US/VA, 1:26:58, $200
2. Stefani Watterson, US/VA, 1:31:40, $150
3. Rebecca Nathan, US/VA, 1:31:54, $100
ABOUT Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon –The event is a 13.1- mile
professional footrace from Mount Vernon, Va. to National Harbor, Md.,
over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The race is sanctioned by USA Track
and Field and the course is certified by USATF. WWBH is a part of the
2012 Pacers Race Series, RacePacket Grand Prix Series and is the Road
Runners Club of America Virginia State Championship as well as the
Potomac Valley Association (USA Track & Field) Half Marathon
Championships. The race also hosts the NIB Visually Impaired National
Half Marathon Championships. See www.wilsonbridgehalf.com