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Photos submitted by Jose Lopez
The inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon, benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure, held Saturday morning (March 14) on a clear sunny day, was highlighted by 28-year-old Texan Westly Keating’s 1:03:31 victory and Kansas City’s Melissa Todd’s championship in the women’s field. Todd was a six-time NCAA Division III All-American at Carthage College.
Keating surged at mile 6 to break away from Kenyan Shadrack Songok, and cruised to his third straight half marathon title.
“The half marathon distance has been good to me,” said Keating, who won the 2009 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon and January’s 3M Half Marathon in Austin. “I wanted to go out hard for the first eight miles, and then coast for the final five miles downhill. Shadrock went out hard, too, but there were some nice long straight-aways where I was able to get in a groove. It was a great race.” Kenyans Shadrock Songok, 1:05:52, and James Kirwa, 1:06:34, finished second and third. Joe Beisner of Irving was the top area finisher in seventh place with a 1:10:40
Todd finished in 1:16:46, 42 seconds ahead of second place finisher Abbi Antablin of New York City. Dallas resident Melisa Christian finished third in 1:18:21.
“I ran a pace that felt right, my goal was to do the best I could and see what happened. It feels awesome to win,” said Todd, who holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology. “The music was cool, I listen to my iPod when I train and normally in races you don’t see that fun concert type of atmosphere.”
The event began at 8:00 am to the cheers of the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and featured a scenic course that ran through Highland Park and down Swiss Avenue, with the University of Texas Longhorn Pep Marching Band performing as runners approached the finish line. See results.