On a foggy Carolina morning, Saturday, April 21, 2012, 137 runners toed the line to race the 3rd annual Kings Mountain Marathon and Half Marathon.
The sun soon burned through the haze and the temperatures topped out at a warm, but tolerable, 77 degrees. The beautiful race day weather assisted in the smashing of course records in all events.
Kevin Eagle of Gaffney, SC won the mens half marathon in a record time of 1:26:53. And in the full marathon, John Van Steenbergh, a native of Flowery Branch, GA, ran his 100th marathon, and earned his sixth career marathon victory! His time of 2:52:33 trounced the old course record by nearly 45 minutes.
On the womens side, the race champions in both the half and full marathons represented an enthusiastic group from Gardner Webb University. In the half, Whitney Swanson raced to victory in a record time of 1:45:10. Her pal Megan Croft smashed the previous marathon record, running the 26.2 mile course in a time of 3:40:11. This was Crofts first time tackling the marathon distance.
Smiles All Around
Croft was joined by several other first time marathon finishers. Many were overjoyed to meet their friends and family at the finish line, where all racers were honored with hefty finisher medals and custom arm warmers.
The race field also included many veteran athletes, including several Marathon Maniacs who were able to check South Carolina off their lists. Mr. John Gillis, 70 years old, of Greensboro, NC was dubbed Kings Mountain Marathons Geezer Jock, the oldest finisher in the field.
Of particular excitement on race day, was the challenge between Adventure Geek racer Jared Campbell and the marathon field. Campbell, making his marathon debut, promised any racer who beat him cash prizes and a refund of the entire race entry fee.
Along with champion Van Steenbergh, marathoners Brian Kistner 3:00:31 (Florence, SC), Eric John 3:01:37 (Covington, GA), and Adventure Geek racer Trevor Albert 3:04:26 (Arlington, VA) all defeated Campbell, giving him a literal run for his money!
Kings Mountain Marathon & Half Marathon 2013 Next years race plans are already under way. Race Directors Jefferson Nicholson and Kristen Thomas are gathering feedback from this years event and planning several improvements for 2013.