HEISER: Justin Krebs still running strong at nearly 42
- Justin Krebs won Sunday's Spartan Half Marathon by nine minutes.
- Krebs once ran the Boston Marathon in under 2 hours, 35 minutes.
- The inaugural Spartan Half Marathon attracted 238 competitiors.
Justin Krebs started running when he was 12.
In a month, he'll turn 42, and he's still running.
For nearly three decades, the 1992 York Suburban High School graduate has been a fixture on the York County running scene.
And make no mistake. He's a runner, not a jogger.
Joggers don't win half marathons at the age of 41 in under 1 hour, 17 minutes.
Joggers don't finish the legendary Boston Marathon in less than 2 hours, 35 minutes at the age of 39.
In case you can't do the math, in both cases, he averaged less than six minutes per mile. Try doing that for just one mile, much less 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles.
The Spring Garden Township man added another accolade to his long running resumé on Sunday when he won the inaugural Spartan Half Marathon in 1:16.38 — exactly nine minutes ahead of his nearest competitor in the 238-runner field. That's impressive.
The women's winner was former York College standout Amanda Lohss (formerly Amanda Parshall). Her time of 1:35.01 was more than four minutes clear of the next female finisher.
The race: By all accounts, the first Spartan Half Marathon was a success.
Well-known local runners Clay Shaw and Karen Mitchell were the race directors. Together they've run more than 300 marathons covering all 50 states. They've also organized some of the best-known racing events in the county. They definitely know running.
Shaw and Mitchell also got loads of help from York College and its student-athletes.
The event started and ended on the Country Club Road campus, but was run mostly on the beautiful York County Heritage Rail Trail. It benefited the Spartan Advance, a collaborative effort between the York College athletic department and the school's office of development. It also had some big-time sponsors, including OSS Health, York Water Company, Flying Feet Sport Shoes and Women's Health Care Group, among others.
For a first-year event, attracting 238 runners seems like a pretty decent turnout, especially considering some local distance runners had to bypass the race because they're running in Monday's Boston Marathon.
Shaw said he was happy with the turnout and that he and Mitchell plan to serve as race directors again for next year's event on April 9, 2017, although they will tweak some things to make next year's event even better.
“(York College) was great to work with,” Shaw said. “We heard great comments about the over 300 (York College) student-athletes that staffed the course and the finish line.”
Krebs was also a big fan of the inaugural competition.
“I thought is was a great event,” said Krebs, who also serves as a volunteer assistant cross country coach at Suburban. “It was nice having all the student-athletes out there.”
Krebs aims for Boston in 2017: Krebs didn't qualify to run in Boston this year. He had to drop out of last year's event with a hamstring injury. But he hopes to return to Boston in 2017. He will try to earn a qualifying time at the upcoming York Marathon, which is set for Sunday, May 15. That event is organized by the YMCA of York and York County.
If history is an indicator, you can expect Krebs back at Boston next spring. In 2014, Krebs put up a stellar time of 2:34.48 at Boston, which was the best time of any runner from central Pennsylvania and good for 174th place out of more than 35,000 entrants.
Krebs also made some history at the 2013 Boston Marathon when he and his girlfriend, Christine Geiselman, got engaged before the race, which they ran together. The 2013 race, unfortunately, was marred by the tragic bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260. Obviously, that left the couple with some bittersweet memories.
Krebs and Geiselman were eventually married in June of 2014 and they now have a six-month-old girl. Krebs is a stay-at-home dad and his wife is a nurse.
He may be a new father, but Krebs remains an accomplished runner, even in his early 40s. He proved that Sunday, and he still has some lofty goals he'd like to reach, such as breaking 2:30 for a marathon, 1:12.30 for a half marathon and 15 minutes for a five-kilometer run.
Even if he doesn't get to those goals, however, he has no plans to stop running.
“It's just nice to be out there on a nice day,” he said. “It's a stress reliever. It's a lifestyle.”
Steve Heiser is sports editor of the York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.