Chris Kempf and Michelle Gosselin were road warriors in many ways Saturday morning. Kempf, who lives in New Jersey, and Gosselin, who is from Providence, R.I., drove to Norwalk early in the morning for the 33rd Sam Elpern Half Marathon. They made their long trips worthwhile, winning the men's and women's races, respectively.
The Lightfoot Running Club sponsored the half marathon.
Kempf, a 25-year-old grad student at Rutgers University, took control of the race in the second half of the run, which began at Norwalk's Fox Run School. A former runner at John Carroll University in Ohio, he finished in 1:16:22 as he made his debut in the half marathon. He is training for a marathon next month in Columbus, Ohio.
"I was trying to go at a six-minute mile pace,'' said Kempf. "It's just a different kind of tired than what I feel running shorter races. It felt great."
Kempf took the lead on the second trip around the double-loop course, overtaking early leader Tim Milenkevich of Ansonia, who finished third in 1:20:09. William Zucconi of Madison split the pair in 1:19:31.
Gosselin, a 24-year-old from Milford who is attending medical school at Brown University, won in 1:30:19. New York's Kyomi Parente, who ran 1:39:49, was second. Brigid Sobolewski of Bridgeport took third in 1:40:50.
Gosselin, 24, played soccer at Yale University before switching to running. She is planning to run the Newport Marathon next month.
"I knew if I ran well I had a chance to win,'' Michelle said. "I was happy because it was the best time I've ever had at the half-marathon distance."
Runners enjoyed near-perfect conditions. There were 223 finishers. The race capped the six-race Summer Series sponsored by club. Milenkevich took top honors for the series in the men's division, and Greenwich's Emmy Stocker won the women's series. Complete results are available here .
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