Gesabwa, Ward are Bellin Run Champs
Women’s winner claims eighth title as 6,825 register for 46th annual event
The Bellin Run today welcomed participants back for the first time in nearly three years after the event was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Excitement was evident as participants, volunteers and spectators took to the streets in support of health and wellness.
Risper Gesabwa added to her unprecedented Bellin Run resume Saturday morning, capturing her eighth event title with a seven-second victory over newcomer Makenna Myler. On the men’s side, Jared Ward broke the tape and defended his 2019 title, defeating two-time champion Brendan Gregg by 31 seconds.
Gesabwa, who did not compete in 2017, claimed the Bellin Run crown in five consecutive appearances dating back to 2012. She broke the tape in 33:11, earning the victory over Myler, who finished in 33:18. The win again broke Gesabwa’s own seven-victory record for the course. Two women, Kim Merritt and Joan Benoit Samuelson, have won the Bellin Run four times; while two men, Allan Kiprono and John Korir, have won it five times (albeit in non-consecutive years).
For the men, 2016 Olympic marathoner Ward crossed the line first, finishing in 29:09. His closest competitor, 2018 Bellin Run champ Brendan Gregg, was second in 29:40.
The Bellin Run registered 6,825 participants in its 46th year, returning to a combination of in-person and virtual offerings after virtual-only events were held in 2020 and 2021. Runners and walkers took to the streets in favorable conditions with temperatures in the mid-60s under sunny skies.
Bellin’s elite athletes were heavily involved in this year’s pre-race activities, participating in the Thursday evening Run with Greatness Charity Fun Run, as well as signing autographs during the Friday night Health & Wellness Expo at Astor Park.
The overall course records did not fall. Joseph Kimani retains the men’s course record of 27:46, set in 1997; and Tegla Loroupe holds the women’s course record with a time of 31:48, set in 1999. There were, however, some new age group records set:
• Females ages 65-69 — Andriette Wickstrom: 48:35
• Females ages 80-84 — Myrna Dickinson: 1:18:35
• Males ages 8 and under — Liam Bisson: 49:10
• Males ages 85 and over — James Henderson: 1:37:29
Local and state notables in the female division include Kathy Derks of Menasha (34:39, 3rd overall), Cheyenne Moore of Oshkosh (35:35, 4th overall), Erin Moldenhauer of Ripon (38:07, 5th overall), Maggie Priebe of Green Bay (38:12, 6th overall), Nicole Strutz of Two Rivers (39:06, 8th overall), Sara Rohde of De Pere (39:41, 8th overall), Kelsey Radobicky of Green Bay (39:44, 9th overall) and Sophie Bolich of Milwaukee (39:48, 10th overall).
Local and state notables in the male division include Matt Cooper of Middleton (30:43, 3rd overall), Noah Jahnke of Green Bay (32:19, 4th overall), Matt Kasten of Menasha (32:28, 5th overall), Paul Gutmann of Franklin (32:43, 6th overall), Brent Kann of Eau Claire (33:05, 7th overall), Riley Siltman of Brooklyn (33:24, 8th overall), David Schneekloth of Appleton (33:26, 9th overall) and John Hollister of Neenah (33:46, 10th overall).
The Bellin Run welcomed back 20 Legends, participants who have participated in every single Bellin Run since the event’s inception in 1977.
The Bellin Run’s two largest programs drew nearly 3,000 participants between them. A total of 2,505 individuals from 133 companies participated in this year’s Corporate Challenge, while nearly 400 were part of Kids for Running. Over 700 people volunteered their time for this year’s event.
Complete Bellin Run results are available through the Bellin Run website at www.bellinrun.com.