TRAVERSE CITY — Clint Verran and Ian Forsyth have a pretty good competition going between them in races this year.
In the four times they’ve squared off against one another, they’ve each won twice.
Verran evened up the head-to-head matchup Saturday when he defeated Forsyth to win the Bayshore Half-Marathon.
Verran finished first in a time of 1:06:38.6, ahead of Forsyth’s time of 1:08:38.7 for a decisive victory over the field.
“It feels just unbelievable,” Verran said of his win. “I was fourth here (three years ago). It had been a goal of mine to come out and win this before I got too old. I just turned 38 the other day. I figured I had to do it soon.”
Haslett’s Jacob Crowe, who ran with Forsyth for a good portion of the race, took third in a time of 1:09:09.2. In fourth was Jason Lafave of Sanford in 1:14:10.6.
Like everyone else that ran the half-marathon, Forsyth, who took second in 2011, watched Verran surge out to an early lead that was never relinquished.
“I had no intention of running with him. He’s running really well these days,” Forsyth said. “I have a bit of an advantage in the shorter stuff and he can get me in the longer stuff, so I’m OK with that.”
For Verran, it was a consistent and solid performance all the way through. His fastest mile was 5:02 and his slowest was around 5:07.
“I got out to a quick start,” Verran said. “I wanted to run a good time. So I was 5:02 at the mile and I had nobody around me. I just think I opened it up from there. It wasn’t much of a race for me tactically. Usually my style is to hold back and run with a group, but today I just decided to go for it. There’s some good, quality runners. Ian’s a solid runner and he’s a tough competitor.”
Forsyth was one month removed from setting the Canadian Masters 10,000 meters record in 30:03, but it’s been an up and down year for the former University of Michigan runner.
“I ran Riverbank (in Grand Rapids) two weeks ago and it went very poorly. I wasn’t going to do this at all, but nice weather and visiting friends anyway, so I figured why not? It worked out pretty well.”
The half-marathon title wasn’t Verran’s first Bayshore victory. He won the marathon in 1999 and enjoys running in the event.
“I love it up here,” said the Lake Orion resident. “It’s the most beautiful, scenic marathon course I’ve ever seen. I just love coming up here and the hospitality and the people up here. You couldn’t ask for a better day. Absolutely no wind, perfect temperature and a good crowd. People come out to cheer for runners. That’s what Traverse City’s all about.”