WHEELING - Ryan Foster - Australian for Green Mile winner.
Foster, a native of Tasmania, Australia, and a 2011 graduate of Penn State where he was a standout on the track team, came to town mostly to support his fiance, Karaleigh Milhouse, whose 5K times compare favorably to past winners of the Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run and Walk.
But Foster, the first Tasmanian to break the 4-minute barrier indoors, stole a little of the limelight on Friday night during the Green Mile Run and Walk, as he won the event in a time of 4:27.
RYAN FOSTER heads for the finish line in the Green Mile Friday evening in downtown Wheeling. Foster won with a time of 4:27.
Foster didn't pull away until the half-mile point but won by 8 seconds on second-place Bobby Herron of Wheeling (4:35). Finishing third was Martins Ferry's Cedric Robinson - the winner of May's Ogden Mile - at 4:41, followed by St. Clairsville's Shane Schuer (5:00), and the first female to cross, Stephanie Bonk of Coraoplis, Pa. (5:01).
Past winners Ed Tulius (5:15) and Logan Wojcik (5:24) finished seventh and 10th, respectively.
Foster he said the winning feeling was a little bittersweet.
''I didn't really want to win because I know it's really a local race and it's nice to see a local win, so I had mixed feelings but it's always nice to race people,'' Foster said. ''I just had fun out there.''
The course record is 4:12:12, set in 2007 by Kenyan Samuel Rotich.
For Foster and his fiance, winning races is nothing new. But he said they mainly enter races simply to experience a spot they've never been.
''It's something we enjoy,'' he said. ''We get to see different places. We would probably never stopped in Wheeling if it wasn't for this race.''
Foster, who is now a volunteer assistant at Penn State, finished his outstanding Nittany Lions career with four All-America certificates, four Big Ten titles, and a whole bunch of records.
Barnesville's Carl Kondrach was the first walker to cross in the line in a time of 7:52, followed by St. Clairsville's Mouse Yoker (7:58), Wheeling's George Macek (9:07), Wheeling's Aric McCreary (9:48) and Barton's Sherri Alig (9:51), the first female.
The Green Mile was dedicated to the memories of Belmont's Rob Kemp, Wheeling's Scott Melko, Wellsville's Matt Johnston and Martin's Ferry's Chris Carlier.
In all, 253 people participated in the run and walk.