A view to victory

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Saturday morning wasn't about personal records for Bryan Kelpe.

It was about just racing again ... and a little bit of site-seeing.

Kelpe, the Cape Girardeau resident who often finds the winners circle at area running events, picked up another first-place finish Saturday in the inaugural Bridge Run, a 3.1-mile race that sent runners east and then west over the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge.

The race was just the second this year for Kelpe, 27, who is making his return from leg injuries.

"It was a beautiful day for racing," Kelpe said after running the course in 17 minutes, 49 seconds. "The course was nice, with a great view of the city. I looked over for a second. I figured if I was going to be going over the bridge, I might as well get a little site-seeing in."

The event, which included a 1-mile noncompetitive walk over the span as well, was the first such race at the 22-month-old Emerson Memorial Bridge since an opening day run attracted more than 200 runners on Dec. 13, 2003.

The Bridge Run took place in conjunction with the centennial celebration for the Southeast Missourian newspaper. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson started the race. The bridge is named in honor of her late husband.

Seventy-two runners and about 70 walkers participated.

The winners, Kelpe in the men's division and fellow Cape Girardeau resident Adela Sams in the women's division, both earned one-year subscriptions to the Southeast Missourian.

Sams, 28, finished in 22:09, just 25 seconds off her personal best time from earlier this year in the Charleston Azalea run.

"This was the first time I've run on the bridge since the first day they opened the bridge," said Sams, who said she also took some glimpses of Cape Girardeau from the bridge while running back into town. "I look everywhere when I run; I look everywhere. The only place I don't look is behind me."

Sams, a native of Mexico who has lived in Cape Girardeau for nine years and has been running for three, had finished second among women last weekend at the City of Roses Half-Marathon.

Kelpe last week competed in his first race of the year, taking on the 3.1-mile Free Speech Run and finishing first in 18:16.

"I'm just trying to get back into race shape," said Kelpe, who has a career-best 5K of 16:04 and posted a 16:15 last year. "I figure it's going to take a while to get back to that time. As long as it's enjoyable and I'm pain-free. ... I don't have any pain today, so it's a good day."

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