When it comes to finding compatible running partners, it's hard to beat Crystina Ridenour and Crystal Reichert. It's even harder to beat them in a race.
The 24-year-old twins finished first and second in the Fort4Fitness women's half marathon Saturday, a repeat victory for Ridenour and a move up one spot for Reichert. Braden Nelson of Angola was the men's winner.
Ridenour won the race in 1:21.46, with her sister not far behind in 1:22.04. It's a familiar dynamic. The two train between 70 to 80 miles per week together and compete in the same races. They'll be running in Columbus, Ohio, in a couple weeks and then will start on their winter training.
Reichert said the two runners, who grew up in Valparaiso and ran collegiately at IPFW, get along great no matter who ends up winning
“She helps me out during workouts and practice,” Reichert said. “I wouldn't be who I am without her. It would be really hard if I didn't have her to run with every day.”
The two planned to run the Fort4Fitness race together for the majority of the 13.2 miles, then race to the finish.
“We were together and then about eight or nine miles, she started going faster,” Reichert said. “I was running the pace I wanted so I decided to stay there and try not to let her get too big a gap on me.”
Ridenour said she felt it was a good time to surge ahead.
“I tried to get my pace faster every mile and stay in first place,” Ridenour said. “We run every day and it's usually a toss-up of who's going to win.”
For the first time, the half marathon portion was selected by the Road Runners Club of America as the Indiana Half Marathon state championship.
Two-time defending champion Eric Ade and his training partner, Thomas Crum, ran their pace in the men's race, but couldn't catch Nelson. Ade has been one of the best and most consistent runners in the four-year event. He was third the first year before his consecutive wins.
“We were pacing it out trying to run an even split,” Ade said. “A couple of guys made moves early, but we stuck to our plan. Certain guys started falling off and we picked them off, but Braden never came back. You can't completely throw your race strategy out the window.”
Nelson's winning time of 1:10.11 set a new record for the course, breaking the mark of 1:10.26 set by Matt Blume in 2008. Ade's second-place time was 1:11.24.