Sixteen runners brave cold, wind in race to Union

By Observer staff June 13, 2012 08:26 am

Elliot McKinnon of  La Grande pulling away to win the inaugural High Valley Half Marathon Saturday.
Elliot McKinnon of La Grande pulling away to win the inaugural High Valley Half Marathon Saturday.

UNION — Elliot McKinnon made his victory in the inaugural High Valley Half Marathon look easy Saturday, in spite of gusting winds and temperatures in the low 40s.

He took the lead from the start and lost his toughest challenger by the four-mile mark on his way to a 1:24.27 time that will stand as the course record — at least for a year.

The 27-year old from La Grande broke away from challenger Tim Vandervlugt at the crest of the biggest hill on the route south from Cove on High Valley Road.

Vandervlugt, a 47-year old runner from La Grande, finished the slightly longer than 13.1-mile course six minutes after McKinnon with a time of 1:30.31. For Vandervlugt, it was just part of a Saturday workout, which included riding a bicycle both to and from the competition.

Barry Dew of Baker City finished third in the race, with a time of 1:31.16, He was the first of two runners from Baker City in the event.

Zachary Freiwald placed sixth with a time of 1:58.23 in the run that started in front of Cove High School with temperatures in the low 40s.

Nineteen-year old Tom Sheehy was the first hometowner to complete the course. The Union High School graduate finished in front of his alma mater with a time of 1:36.29 for fourth place. Thomas Moon of Portland took fifth in 1:45.32.

La Grande’s Tim Seydel rounded out the seven runners competing in the men’s division of the race with a time of 2:03.39.

Cove pair lead women

Two Cove runners were the first women to finish the race, with Cynthia Morris beating Amy Hegidus to the finish line by a three-and-a-half-minute margin. Morris was clocked at 1:53.58 when she crossed the line, while Hegidus hit the finish at 1:57.08.

Jill Pedro of North Powder hangs on to a race volunteer for support after finishing fourth in the inaugural High Valley Half Marathon  Saturday in front of Union High School. BRAD MOSHER / The Observer
Jill Pedro of North Powder hangs on to a race volunteer for support after finishing fourth in the inaugural High Valley Half Marathon Saturday in front of Union High School. BRAD MOSHER / The Observer

Angie Miller of La Grande was third in 2:03.39, while Powder Valley’s Jill Pedro finished fourth in 2:05.56.

Lisa Miles and Danelle Wilson, both from La Grande, placed fifth and sixth in the race. Miles was clocked at the line in 2:08.03, while Wilson had a time of 2:12.03 for the race.

Audra Waite of Greybull, Wyo., was timed in 2:18:02 as she took seventh place.

Union’s Jody Parry came in eighth with a time of 2:18.13, while La Grande’s Christine Isaacson came in ninth with a 2:25:55 time.

The course was marked with a long uphill in the first five miles and the rest of the route being downhill all the way into Union.

According to race director Steve Sheehy, the race was a success.