More Than 200 Runners Compete in Menifee Half-Marathon

The Menifee Half-Marathon went on as scheduled Saturday morning and all but 35 of the nearly 250 ...

The Menifee Half-Marathon went on as scheduled Saturday morning and all but 35 of the nearly 250 registered runners showed up to battle the elements in the 13.1-mile road course.

No major health issues were reported concerning runners, who took advantage of the 7:30 a.m. start and a decrease in winds to minimize the potential health hazards of heat and poor air quality.

Checking the website every few minutes for air quality updates right up until race time, race coordinator Bob Duistermars gave the OK for Mayor Scott Mann to blow the starting horn in front of Mt. San Jacinto College as scheduled.

As runners headed south on Antelope Road on their journey through the southeast part of Menifee, Duistermars said the air quality reports he had monitored all morning showed moderate to good air quality. A few of the runners complained of the effects of the smoky air from fires burning in San Diego County, but air quality did not appear to be a major factor in the race.

"We certainly had no-shows because of it," said Duistermars, who is president and CEO of Central County United Way, which puts all proceeds from the race back into Menifee community programs. "But we didn't have people coming up to us and demanding refunds. The ones here came to run."

The 35 pre-registered runners who chose not to show up on Thursday will not receive a refund of their $75 race entry fee. That money still will go to the United Way designated charities. Many of those who decided to run despite the weather put on strong showings.

The overall winner was 44-year-old Thomas Beyer (left) of Murrieta. He finished in a time of 1:25:31. Beyer led from early in the race on and came across the finish line well ahead of second-place Timothy Christoni, who was clocked in 1:29.33.

Beyer said he is in training for the June 1 Comrades Marathon, a grueling 56-mile run in South Africa.

"This is my tune-up," he said with a smile after the race. "Every three months or so, I run a marathon or half-marathon. It keeps me out of trouble."

Although he obviously is more experienced in running distances races than many who competed, Beyer said he was not concerned at all about the air