Winning effort

Jared Bassett approaches the finish line to win the Circle the Bay road race.

NORTH BEND — Jared Bassett has made a habit of winning the biggest races in the Bay Area when he returns to his hometown.

Bassett won the Circle the Bay run for the third time Saturday, completing the 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) circuit around much of the water body Coos Bay in an hour, 45 minutes and 44 seconds. His time was just 14 seconds slower than the last time he ran, and won, the race, back in 2015. The 2008 Marshfield graduate also won the race in 2010, in a time of 1:49:12, and also is a multi-time champion of the Prefontaine Memorial Run held each September in Coos Bay.

“I always love the opportunity to come home and race,” he said. “(There is) nothing better.”

Bassett finished almost 20 minutes ahead of the runner-up in the race Saturday, Jason Raehl of Ashland, who was timed in 2:05:15. He credited ideal weather.

“It was a perfect day for a run around the bay,” Bassett said. “The conditions couldn’t have been any better.

“I felt the strongest I have ever felt on the course. So overall, it was an awesome day and the effort felt great. It will set me up for the fall trail races.”

That’s Bassett’s primary focus now, and the Bend area is ideal for training for the endurance trail runs.

While Bassett took a break for his regular racing style, the overall women’s champion Saturday did the same.

Reedsport racewalker Stephanie Casey ran the course instead of her typical racewalking and finished first among the women in 2:38:15. She was a little over four minutes ahead of Jenny McGriff of Coos Bay (2:42:26).

“It was so fun to be out there running,” Casey said, adding that she is “taking some time off (from racewalking) since the Olympic Trails at the end of June.

Casey finished fourth in the 20-kilometer racewalk at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, finishing in 1:42:32

“I hope to be back to walking soon to start building up to the world championships next year in Eugene,” she said. “In the meantime, I am grateful for the local running community that puts on such great events to keep my passion going.

“I love this course. The views are great, the hills keep it interesting, and I had to work hard not to stop and pick blackberries along the way. It has been a rough season for my walking, but events like this remind me why I do what I do and get me fired up for another season ahead.”

The race drew a total of 28 individuals and seven three-person relay teams, with the relay runners each covering roughly a third of the course (the middle leg is longest and the last leg includes a tough series of hills between the Kentuck Inlet on East Bay Drive and U.S. Highway 101, including crossing the famed McCullough Bridge near the end of the race).

The top relay team was a trio associated with Myrtle Point, Jerry’s Joggers, which included half-marathon specialist Jerry Roberts, Myrtle Point cross country coach Karl Smith and former Bobcat Jack Isenhart.

The team finished in 2:07:19, more than 10 minutes ahead of the runners-up, the Simpson Heights Intrepid Trotters including Todd Landsberg of Coos Bay and North Bend father and son Lawrence and Finley Cheal, a sophomore to be at North Bend High School.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Smith, who ran the anchor leg, following Isenhart and Roberts. “We had good weather and great support from the North Bend cross country team.”

The Bulldogs again provided support at the numerous aid stations on the route, which they have done for years. The team’s assistant coach is Amarissa Wooden, president of the South Coast Running Club which puts on the Circle the Bay run.

The top mixed relay team was Are We There Yet? That group included Pete Schaefers, Nora Collins and Barb Young of Coos Bay and finished in 2:43:12. The top women’s team was Chicks With Kicks, a Coquille trio of Kayla Fisher, Shannon Fisher and Amanda Szarkowski, which crossed the line in 3:05:57.

The top masters (40-and-over) finisher for the men was Hugo Ecija of Spain, who was fourth overall in 2:23:25. The top masters finisher among the women was Heidi Messner of Terrebonne in 2:57:02.

Race Results

MALE

30-34 — 1. Jared Bassett, Bend, 1:45:44; 2. Kevin Brightbill, Syracuse, N.Y., 2:05:40.

35-39 — 1. Jason Raehl, Ashland, 2:05:15; 2. Evan Godsiff, Coos Bay, 2:25:54; 3. Ryan Mill, Coos Bay, 2:50:11.

45-49 — 1. Jeff McPherson, Boulder City, Nev., 2:37:57; 2. Tim Hyatt, Coos Bay, 3:07:27.

50-54 — 1. Hugo Ecija, Madrid, Spain, 2:23:25; 2. Moises Garcia, Coos Bay, 2:39:24; 2. Chad Brown, Coquille, 4:02:35.

55-59 — 1. Michael Brady, Ashland, 3:55:45.

60-64 — 1. Chip Boggs, Bandon, 2:56:48.

65-69 — 1. Jim Littles, Bandon, 2:55:55.

70-74 — 1. Jerry Gentry, Salem, 3:06:08.

75-79 — 1. Anthony Kenyon, 4:00:46.

FEMALE

30-34 — 1. Jennifer Dungee, Coos Bay, 3:21:32.

35-39 — 1. Stephanie Casey, Reedsport, 2:38:15; 2. Jenny McGriff, Coos Bay, 2:42:26; 3. Courtney Raehl, Grand Rapids, Mich., 3:03:05; 4. Kim Kanies, North Bend, 3:30:27.

45-49 — 1. Heidi Messner, Terrebonne, 2:57:02; 2. Jenna Beh, Coos Bay, 3:02:03; 3. Jessica Engelke, North Bend, 3:20:58; 4. Rikki Thurman, Coquille, 4:15:25.

50-54 — 1. Tanya Sinko, Myrtle Point, 4:32:19.

60-64 — 1. Sandra Merritt, Coos Bay, 4:07:20.

RELAY

Male — 1. Jerry’s Joggers (Karl Smith, Jack Isenhart, Jerry Roberts), 2:07:19; 2. Simpson Heights Intrepid Trotters (Todd Landsberg, Lawrence Cheal, Finley Cheal), 2:18:46.

Female — 1. Chicks With Kicks (Kayla Fisher, Shannon Fisher, Amanda Szarkowski), 3:05:57; 2. Old Enough to Know Better (Elizabeth Hewitt, Sheryl Phillips, Cheryl Waddington), 3:17:17; 3. The Blondies (Melanie Simpson), 3:20:25.

Mixed — 1. Are We There Yet? (Pete Schaefers, Nora Collins, Barb Young), 2:43:12; 2. Run DMC (Jennifer Dungee, Melissa Loudenbeck, Clayton Willett), 2:58:38.

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