Sault Stryders
Running Club

McMillan tops half-marathon field in Run the Great Lakes debut
Reported June 8, 2009 by Ben Leeson for The Sault Star
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Years will pass before Jack McMillan shows whether he has inherited his father's ability as a long distance runner.

But the one-year-old Thessalon resident already knows what it feels like to hold a medal.

Moments after finishing first in Sunday's Run the Great Lakes half-marathon, 30-year-old Brent McMillan leaned over his son's stroller and placed his newly-won medallion in Jack's tiny hands.

Rounding out his cheering section were six-year-old daughter Avery and wife Megan, who had to travel a much shorter distance than usual to watch him race.

Sunday marked the 11th running of Run the Great Lakes, an event which also included 10-kilometre and five-kilometre runs, but McMillan was taking part for the first time.

"I think it's important to support your local events, like this one," McMillan said. "It's really well-run and well-organized. "You've got all you need, right here."

And if fans who braved the chill wind and light rain needed a little late-race drama, they found it in the battle for top spot between McMillan and 31-year-old Nathan Mudge, another area runner.

The two ran together until about the 14-kilometre mark of the race along the Sault waterfront, before McMillan pulled ahead in the late stages.

"It was a good race," McMillan said. "I had some great company out there. I was pushed hard.

"We were never that far apart from one another."

Difficulties processing Sunday's results made official times for the event unavailable Sunday afternoon.

Race director Doug Richardson was hopeful that times for all runners would be available today.

McMillan appeared to cross the finish line well under the 1:20:00 mark, with Mudge less than a minute behind.

Mudge, who also finished second in last year's race, believed Sunday's result was his personal best at that distance.

Half-marathons are a little under 22 kilometres in length.

"He just had a little more than I did," Mudge said of McMillan.

"But it was a good race. It was my fastest half ever, and I have to be happy with that."

Organizers were happy with a late run on registration for Sunday's races, which increased turnout to around 210 after a slow start.

Close to 110 took part in the five-kilometre event, in which participants had the option of walking, while more than 50 registered for the 10-kilometre race and the rest for the half-marathon.

"We had quite a few walk-ups," said Doug Richardson, race director for Run the Great Lakes. "It turned out to be a lot better than what I was expecting,"

Registration fees were split between the Lung Association and local training programs for young track athletes.

Ed Oosterbaan was third in the men's half-marathon, while Jackson Taylor was fourth and Dan Puddister fifth.

In the men's 10-kilometre race, Sean Vardy finished first, Cameron Wilson second and Mark Wetzl third.

Jim Walsh and Nathan Heiyonen rounded out the top five.

Tim Pearson finished first in the men's five-kilometre run, ahead of Matthew Figures, Sam Taylor, Jeremy Paquin and Mike Watson.