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Gaining velocity in Viola
Half marathon draws crowd
Amanda Dodson, left, and Jordan Cleek participated in their first-ever race Saturday, the Viola Valley Half Marathon.
WCHS graduate Jordan Cleek had never run a race before Saturday's Viola Valley Half Marathon, not even a 5K.She decided to jump into the world of running with both feet, competing in the sixth annual event on her 26th birthday with friend Amanda Dodson, also a first-timer."We decided to go big or go home," said Cleek.Added Dodson, "We're here to have a good time."Winchester resident Eric Shull may have had the best time of all as he pulled away from the pack to win the race in 1:21:39. He was followed by Morrison resident Mickey Ralph in second with a time of 1:27:59.McMinnville resident Anne Myers was the top female finisher with a time of 1:42:33.Running veteran Tommy Kell, 54, estimates he has competed in more than 50 half marathons and says he has run 28 full marathons since taking up the sport in the 1980s."I got started with the Fourth of July Fun Run," said Kell. "Me and a bunch of friends got together and we decided to run it for bragging rights to see who was the fastest.