CLARKSBURG -- Thanks to a former Greater Clarksburg 10K champion, Cincinnati's John Sence took home the American title during Saturday's race.
Sence, making his fourth trip to Clarksburg, had planned on running the marathon in the World Championships before Khalid Khannouchi changed his mind.
Khannouchi, the 1997 Greater Clarksburg 10K champ and world record marathon holder, decided to participate in the World Championships, leaving Sence to make a quick phone call to elite runner director Dorsey Chevront on Thursday.
"I like coming here, and it's close for me," Sence said.
That quick call's result was a time of 30:16 for 18th place overall.
He said he never found a rhythm but it was a good race to prepare for the national half-marathon next month in Parkersburg.
"And you can count on the competition to be loaded (in Clarksburg). It seems like it gets deeper and deeper," he said. "It's a great tune-up for the half-marathon."
One area the race lacked this year was a deep American field.
"It's tough because it's not our peak time of the year," Sence said. "It's either everybody is getting ready for a marathon or other 10Ks and no one is peaking for this time of year.
"It's hard to get a great American field because we have to be so selective, while the Kenyans are always ready to go."
On the women's side, Debbie Kilpatrick was starting to hit her peak.
The mother of two, including a nine-month old, from Berea, Ohio, said she was just starting to get back into running form.
"I was here for the first race," Kilpatrick said. "I like the concept of two loops, and I generally like the hills.
"But I'm just getting back into shape so the hills were difficult."
She finished with a time of 36:35, with her closest U.S. competitor two minutes behind her -- Beth Godwin of Gainesville, Fla. (38:35).
"Having the two loops was good thing," Kilpatrick said. "I told myself if I got through the first time, I can do it second time."
But Kilpatrick did say there is one thing harder than running the Greater Clarksburg 10K.
"Parenthood," she said.
Assistant sports editor Danny Carpenter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at email@example.com.