Tyler Kosut

Tyler Kosut  crosses the finish line with a time of 16:33, on Tuesday evening at the David S. Roth Memorial 5K Run at Concord University.

ATHENS — Six years ago, Lance McDaniel set the course record in the David S. Roth Memorial 5K Run. On Tuesday evening, another alumnus of the Concord University running program came close to matching it.

Tyler Kosut, who graduated from CU last May, put on his running shoes again and completed the 3.2-mile course in 16:33, just 25 seconds off the standard set by McDaniel in 2013.

Kosut, a graduate of Shady Spring High School, now works as a manager in the recreation operations at Glade Springs Resort.

“I had the day off today,” Kosut said, “so I thought it might be fun to come out and kind of see where I’m at, racing wise.”

Where he was at the finish was almost three minutes ahead of the next runner, Nick Whited, who took second place with a time of 19:28.

Kosut said, “I normally try to stay on pace. I went out a little too hard, I went out on a 5-flat pace. That was kind of where I wanted to be, but it wasn’t where I could go today. I just didn’t have it.”

He said that hot weather does not bring out his best. “It was very hot, about 80, and it seemed pretty humid, too,” he said, “but it was a good day, all in all. A fun race, as always.”

Kosut didn’t get to compete in the Roth Run while he was a student, primarily because he was in heavy training for intercollegiate races. He remembers watching the Roth Run in which McDaniel set his record.

Kosut said he still spends time with the CU running program and its coach, Mike Cox.

Kayla Johnson won the women’s division of the race for the second year in a row, clocking in with a time of 24:12. Last year was her first Roth Run.

Her win came on the heels of competing in a half-marathon about 54 hours earlier at Canaan Valley in northern West Virginia.

“We ran Sunday, and I’m sore off that,” she said. “Most (half marathon) races, you just do them on the weekend, and then I would probably just go out to run on my own rather than a race.”

She noted, “This weather is a little warmer, but I appreciate it. We’ve been running in the cold for so long, I’m ready for some warm weather.”

A native of the Pineville area of Wyoming County, she said, “We didn’t have cross-country in my high school, we didn’t have it in undergrad (at Mountain State University in Beckley). So I just started on my own. … We’d get together and run. I’d run at Twin Falls every day in the summer, and when I was in college, I’d just go to the gym and run.”

Johnson went on to earn a master’s degree from Marshall University Graduate College, and is now a middle school teacher at Macy McClaugherty School in Pearisburg.

She totally endorses the purpose of the annual Roth Run, to raise money for the David S. Roth Memorial Scholarship at Concord.

“For so many kids that can’t afford to go to college – me being one of them, when I was in school – scholarships are how we can get to go, so it’s definitely important,” she said.

Kosut agreed that scholarships are important for higher education.

“Especially for athletic teams, it can bring in, potentially, people that can help the team,” he said. “It can bring in a lot of very smart students as well that will make the whole college a lot better.

“It makes me feel good that the Roth Run supplies a scholarship to people.”

The walk-run is a memorial to Roth, who taught at concord for 17 years and died in 1986 after a courageous battle against cancer for several years.

The 29th annual walk-run included more than 50 competitors, led by race director Tom Davis, a CU biology professor. Athens resident Paul Hodges, a former coach of high school and middle school running teams, won the walkers’ division.

Once again, members of the Concord volleyball team took to the course as part of their off-season fitness routine. Among the other participants were approximately 11 students from Mercer Elementary School in Princeton, members of the Pirate Pacers student club organized by Angie Neal.

Daniel McDowell, a volunteer assistant coach for the Pacers, said, “Those kids are just a blessing. … They’re just a phenomenal bunch of kids. They have a lot of heart and they enjoy running.”

Asked about the importance of introducing the sport to elementary students, McDowell said, “It’s pivotal, to instill that in them when they’re young, especially something like running. When it comes to long-distance running, and endurance (running), that’s something you can start at a very early age and … literally run for the rest of their life.”

“I’ve been doing running, and half marathons, and enjoying them for 30 years now.” He said he’s run the New York Marathon, and the Boston Marathon three times.

He and Johnson are currently the co-presidents of the Southern West Virginia Road Runners Club.

Johnson said, “It’s great, to encourage other runners, and to get more people involved in being healthy. You can come out and walk, to move. That’s what our group does, just try to encourage other people to just get out and move.”

McDowell said, “We would love to encourage the entire state to come out and go for a run. Or a walk.”

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