By Kevin Kelley
Mourad Marofit, a 30-year-old Morocan who competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, was the top finisher in the 2012 edition of the North Coast Challenge, which took place Saturday morning in Westlake.
Marofit finished the five-mile run with a time of 23:23.10, just beyond the course record of 22:53.
It was Marofit’s first time competing in North Coast Challenge. He said his agent recommended he enter the race.
“I loved the race,” Marofit said through an interpreter after his victory, which earned him $750. “I loved the crowd and the people here.”
Philip Lagat finished second with a time of 24:08.59.
Marofit, who competed in the 5,000 meter race in Beijing, said he enters about six races similar to North Coast Challenge each year in this country.
Jessica Kuhr, of Kirtland, was the top female finisher with a time of 27:04.78. She finished eighth overall. Dorcus Chesang was the second female finisher, with a time of 29:02.24.
According to data from the Weather Underground website (wunderground.com), the temperature was 75 degrees with humidity at 71 percent during the race.
Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough won the two-mile walk, in which he has competed since North Coast challenge began in 1991. Until last year, the length of the walk had been 3.4 miles.
Clough told West Life his victory was due to the fact that professional race walkers, who had come to Westlakle in previous years, did not come this year.
Clough took the lead early, right from the start. That’s the only way to win the walk, he said.
“If you get behind, forget it,” said the mayor, who tied for first in the walk in the early ‘90s and has won his age group in past competitions.
A kids’ fun run for children through age 13 and a Health and Fitness Expo on the grounds of St. John Medical Center, were also part of the event.
For the complete race results, go to www.northcoastchallenge.com.