New course record set for London Half-Marathon

David Mars (right), race director for the London Marathon/Half-Marathon/5K, cheers on Max Pettit, 22, of Enon, Ohio. Pettit, 22, won the men’s half-marathon with a new course record of 1:06:59.

(Posted May 4, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Everyone was soggy by the time they finished, but they finished!

The 2nd Annual London Marathon/Half-Marathon/5K saw a total of 161 runners and walkers cross the finish line at Merri Mac Park on April 30. The thermometer hovered around 50 degrees for much of the morning–a good thing in many runners’ minds–but it came with steady rain that started shortly after the 7 a.m. start.

“The weather wasn’t 100 percent with us, but the temperatures were perfect,” said David Mars, race director.

Sakiko Minagawa, 27, of Westerville, Ohio, posted an impressive time of 1:18.33 to win the women’s half-marathon.

Participants seemed to shake off the wet, with many reporting that they met personal goals, whether it was returning to racing after extended time off, attempting a new distance, or recording a personal best time.

For entrants like Chelsea Goodwin of Hartland, Mich., it meant qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Goodwin, 36, had planned to attempt a qualifying time at the Glass City Marathon in Toledo on April 24 but opted out due to weather. The London marathon was her backup plan, and it worked out well. She finished the 26.2-mile course in second place among female entrants with a time of 3:31.03. The cut-off for Boston for females ages 35-39 is 3:35.

“She did it with time to spare,” said Mars, who is always quick to point out how flat and, therefore, fast the London course is. The marathon and half-marathon courses take place primarily on the Ohio To Erie Trail bike path that runs through London.

Jeff Mescal, 56, of Hebron, Ind., looks strong as he heads to the finish line for first place in the men’s marathon with a time of 2:52.56.

Max Pettit, 22, a Wright State University student from of Enon, Ohio, made the most of the course and the conditions, setting a new course record for the half-marathon. He averaged 5:07 mile for a finishing time of 1:06.59, beating last year’s winning time by almost exactly a minute. For setting a new course record, he earned bonus prize money.

Both last year and this year, London’s half-marathon has attracted speedsters. Mars noted that Pettit and Sakiko Minagawa, this year’s top female finisher at that distance, notched times that bested those posted by winners in this year’s Cap City Half Marathon, held the same day in Columbus, and the Flying Pig Marathon, held the next day in Cincinnati.

The top male finisher at Cap City had a time of 1:11.25. The top male finisher at Flying Pig had a time of 1:12.12. Minagawa, 27, of Westerville finished the London half in 1:18.33 compared to the top female finishers at Cap City (1:21.33) and Flying Pig (1:21.08).

Wendy Ford, 44, of Columbus, Ohio, claimed first place in the women’s marathon with a time of 3:17.29.

Cap City and Flying Pig attract thousands of runners. Mars said he is proud of the talent London attracts for being a smalltown race with limited resources.

The 5K distance was a new option this year at London’s event. Mars added it with the hopes of attracting more local runners. His hopes were realized; more than half of the 61 entrants in the 5K hailed from Madison County. He said he plans to offer it again next year.

And speaking of next year, Mars has already set a date for the 2023 London Marathon/Half-Marathon/5K. It will take place on April 15. Registration will open soon with early-bird price breaks. He moved the race date back two weeks to avoid overlaps with other central Ohio races.

Net proceeds from the event go to improvements at Merri Mac Park in London. Thanks in part to funds raised through the race, the city of London and Merri Mac Miracle, a volunteer fundraising group, will install new playground equipment at the park this summer. Anyone can donate to the project at any time. One option is to visit the race signup page and click on the “Donate” button (search for London Ohio Marathon at

Benjamin Mars (left), 31 of Kent, Ohio, and Kevin Menchaca, 28, of London, Ohio, are all smiles at the finish of the 5K. Mars won the race with a time of 19:23. Menchaca finished second with a time of 20:19.

Men’ Marathon
Jeff Mescal (2:52.56)

Women’s Marathon
Wendy Ford (3:17.29)

Men’s Half-Marathon
Max Pettit (1:06.59)

Women’s Half-Marathon
Sakiko Minagawa (1:18.33)

Men’s 5K
Benjamin Mars (19:23.13)

Women’s 5K
Lily Patterson (22:02.46)

Lily Patterson, 15, of London was the first female to cross the finish line in the 5K. She took the win with a time of 22:02.

Bill Knox, West Jefferson (4:13.15)
Jordan Marco, London (4:50.28)
Bridgett Shoemaker, London (4:50.29)

Colt Kelly, Mount Sterling (1:34.53)
Jacqueline Dahlberg, London (1:39.09)
David Hirshberg, Plain City (1:49.32)
Jennifer Curtiss, London (1:57.24)
Matt Nolan, London (2:04.57)
Claire Corney, West Jefferson (2:10:07)
Anna Sexton, London (2:14.53)
Patti Sidner, West Jefferson (2:19.31)
Erin Sielschott, London (2:19.57)
Beth Hirshberg, Plain City (2:21.56)

Kevin Menchaca, London (20:19.90)
Lily Patterson, London (22:02.46)
A. Nolan, London (25:47.54)
Jeff Tate, London (26:05.58)
Dustin Lofton, London (26:38.61)
Curtis Quimby, London (26:56.35)
Ashley O’Neill, London (26:59.25)
Caelan Mars, London (27:28.34)
Joey Abbott, Mt. Sterling (27:30.47)
Ashley Horstman, London (28:11.61)
Jennifer Marco, London (29:26:87)
Christi Frea, London (29:42.90)
Jody Pickett, London (30:22.81)
Phillip Elfrink, London (31:13.37)
V. Mars, London (31:41.82)
Agori Rossiou, London (32:39.12)
Brittany Lofton, London (33:31.95)
Jessica Scholl, London (33:39.80)
Douglas Runyon, West Jefferson (33:41.73)
Melissa O’Neill, London (33:59.80)
Sheri Silvers, London (34:40.51)
Cynthia Knight, London (36:44.40)
Kimberly Madigan, Plain City (38:07.60)
Delanie Wiseman, London (38:32.96)
Mindy Wilson, London (40:14.47)
Julie Clark, South Solon (40:15.88)
Charles Wertz, South Solon (40:20.80)
Cynthia Bussey, South Solon (40:21.22)
Dee Jones, London (44:52.29)
Christina Alexander, London (55:29.31)
James Wiseman, London (55:30.39)
Michelle Anderson, London (55:30.58)
Karen Wells, London (57:34.16)
Cassie Appleyard, London (57:34.66)
Doug E. Wells, London (58:05.59)

Bill Knox, 64, of West Jefferson was the first Madison County resident to complete the marathon. He finished 27th overall with a time of 4:13.15.

Race participants hailed from 10 different states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachussetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania , Utah and Vermont.

Age range of marathon finishers: Jordan Marco, 21, of London was the youngest marathoner. Bill Knox, 64, of West Jefferson was the oldest finisher.

Age range of half-marathon finishers: Eliza Wunderlich, 18, of Columbus was the youngest finisher. Chuck Hyland, 76, of Worthington was the oldest finisher.

Age range of 5K finishers: V. Mars, 10, of London was the youngest finisher. Bob Shaw, 71, of Sylvania was the oldest finisher.

And they’re off! The 5K gets under way..
Colt Kelly, 28, of Mount Sterling was the first Madison County resident to cross the finish line in the half-marathon. He placed 12th overall with a time of 1:34.53.
Jacqueline Dahlberg, 39, of London was the second Madison County resident to cross the finish line in the half-marathon. She placed 14th overall with a time of 1:39.09.
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