Running above the clouds: Clark, Webb charge MLK Bridge to Pleasure Island win
Pleasure Island Bridge Half-Marathon results
The way one runner explained going over the Martin Luther King Bridge to Richard James III, it was like running above the clouds.
“It was remarkable how cool it was [to see],” said James, the race director for the Pleasure Island Bridge Half-Marathon. “The clouds were low.”
Runners like Becca Webb of Missouri City shared the early November scenery where shades of green, not brown, are dominant colors in this port city.
“The weather was fantastic,” Webb, 32, said. “The views were beautiful. The course was laid out. Being from the Houston area, it was nice to run along the seaboard.”
At the same time, the fog that built up Saturday morning in Port Arthur challenged the visibility of the 300-plus runners.
“The thing that was most concerning were the metal expansions,” overall race winner Brian Clark, 32, of Bridge City said. “You had to be careful to not hit those because they were slick. You had to be careful to not step on one and blow your leg out.”
Clark, a Total engineer, came away unscathed and victorious, winning the half-marathon for the second time in the event’s six-year history. He also won in 2014.
Winning a 13.1-mile run near his hometown is a great reward for a former Bridge City High cross-country runner who just runs for fun.
“It’s a personal challenge,” said Clark, whose time was 1 hour, 22 minutes, 29 seconds. “I don’t take it too seriously. My family’s into it.”
And his 14-month old daughter Charlotte was there to witness the victory.
“It’s awesome,” Clark said. “I hope she’s into running. If not, I’ll support her in whatever she wants to do. I’m trying to stay healthy for her.”
Joe Huyett was second at 1:30.53, followed by Aaron Rone 1:36.14. Hometowns were not listed in final results.
Webb, a human resources worker, won the women’s division, crossing the finish line in 1:38:30. She was sixth overall.
Catherine Madden was the second-place women’s runner (1:39:39) and seventh overall. Susan Craig (1:50:25) was third for the women.
The clouds hovering just under the MLK Bridge gave the 300-plus runners, by James’ estimation, an exciting overview of the Intracoastal Waterway with temperatures circling 70 degrees at the 7:30 a.m. race time.
“It was pretty beautiful but it was scary because you could see the cracks through the bridge,” said Travis Gibson, the 14-year-old Nederland resident who won the male 10-kilometer division for the second year in a row. “You could hear the cars coming but in the fog, you couldn’t see them or the bikers.”
Webb called the fog a welcome challenge as the runners headed toward the waterway.
“Some of the racers were taking selfies, so you would think it was challenging, but actually it was a bit invigorating,” Webb said.
Emily Dunn (41:59) won the 10K female division.
Travis, who races across the country with his sister Mary Kathryn and younger brother Peter, said he used the 10K as a workout.
“My cross country season was iffy, so I was trying to come off a slide,” Travis said. “Besides the uphill, everything was fine.”
Despite that run up the bridge, Gibson was excited about running at a 6-minute, 7-second per mile clip.
The bridge was no bigger obstacle to Clark than the warmth of the Port Arthur air.
“I had a good race, but it was warm and muggy,” Clark said. “Everybody had to run in the same conditions, though. Last week would have been ideal for sure.”
The event also featured a 2-mile run that saw Lumberton youngsters Ryan Young and Ava Troutman take home the top male and female prizes.
James was happy with the turnout, noting earlier in the week the field wasn’t as large as in past years because of ongoing recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Harvey.
“I’m really thankful that Richard and Amy [James] put it on every year,” Clark said. “They’ve been super busy with all the hurricane stuff.”
I.C. Murrell: 549-8541. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews