By Mark Lewis

Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – There was a whole lot that was new at this year’s Mercy Health Seaway Run, such as a new course route, new course lengths, a new finish line location and a new men’s 5k winner.

But then, there were a couple things that seemed fairly familiar, including the women’s 5k winner, and the predictable large throng of spectators and well-wishers.

Though the sky looked as though at any moment it may surrender to rain, and the humidity level was a tad over the comfortable mark, over 3,000 runners and walkers braved one of the five course distances – the usual 5k, 15k and the brand new half-marathon runs, and the three-and-five-mile runs.

Two runners finished neck-and-neck for the 5k men’s overall title, with Muskegon’s Alex Webb (16:31.15) apparently edging out Spring Lake’s Austin Elliot. Although Elliot’s ‘gun’ time was listed as (16:31.35), Elliot’s actual chip time was listed as 16:30.75.

Elliot hadn’t run the race since his freshman year in high school. The recent graduate of Spring Lake, who heads to run for Muskegon Community College this fall, said the race wasn’t tight all the way through.

“I rode behind (Webb) for two miles, but then I picked up the pace that last mile,” said Elliot. “I ended up catching him on that last 800 (meters).”

Elliot appeared to have clipped Webb at the finish line.

Nevertheless, Elliot had a great time on the race’s new course, which now finishes in a parking lot just west of the YMCA.

“It felt great, really,” said Elliot. “You couldn’t ask for better weather. A little humid, but we can deal with it.”

The women’s overall 5k winner was familiar to nearly everyone in the crowd. Montague’s Jeanne Dykman, winner of 12 previous Seaway runs, won her 13th following a 2012 season where she took a break from competitive running – running just one race all season – because of injury. Dykman, who won the women’s title with a time of 18 minutes, 48.75 seconds, said the new course needs a little adjusting to.

“I liked it,” she said of the new course, which now winds its way along Muskegon Lake instead of turning, as it has in previous years, back into the Nims neighborhood. “It is just that it’s not the Seaway anymore. Everything was different. I felt like I was at a whole new race, a whole new venue. We’ll see maybe next year, once you get used to it.

“It’s a little windy, different from before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” continued Dykman. “I liked it though, something different. It was beautiful along the lake.”

Dykman gave the new finish line rave reviews.

“I hated the (train) tracks,” she said, describing the finish line’s old location. “I didn’t like that last little bend where you went over the tracks. I always felt like I was going to fall. This is much better.”

The women’s master title winner went to Grand Haven’s Shelly Mattson, who finished the 3.1-mile course in 21:06.13, while the men’s master winner was Robert Moore of Grovesport, OH, who finished in 17:49.91. Moore is a multiple winner of the overall title.

In the 15k, 18-year old Shay Ostyn won the men’s overall title, completing the 9.3-mile course in 54 minutes, 25.4 seconds, with Stanton, MI resident Amanda Ringleka, who is old enough to win the masters title, taking the women’s overall 15k title. Ringleka won the race with a time of one hour, six minutes and 45.3 seconds.

Mark Paulson of White Lake won the men’s master division in 58:48.1, while Jean Seward of Muskegon won the women’s master title in 1:08:57.13.

Finally, Alex Moore, the son of the men’s 5k masters winner, took the half-marathon overall title, completing the 13.1-mile race in 1:18:37.37. Jessica Sowles won the female overall title, finishing in one hour, 28 minutes and 17.38 seconds.

Fremont’s Jum Lanciaux won the half-marathon male masters title with a time of 1:19.54.89, with Muskegon’s Kristen Brown winning the half-marathon women’s masters title, completing the race in 1:32:36.13.