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Published: Monday, 9/17/2001 - Updated: 2 years ago

Different paths brought winners here


Rudy Afanador had never run an organized 24-hour race in his life.

Last year, Sue Ellen Trapp wasn't sure if she'd ever run for 24 hours again.

Yesterday at Olander Park in Sylvania, Afanador and Trapp were the top overall finishers in the United States Track & Field Association's 24-Hour Run national championship. Afanador, a forklift operator from Long Island, N.Y., covered 151.06 miles .

Trapp, a dentist from Fort Myers, Florida, totaled 126.17 miles in the women's race.

“I don't know how many miles I had,” Afanador, 43, admitted. “I just kept running.”

Running a race his coach, Lisa Smith, talked him into entering.

“Rudy wasn't going to run in this race,” said Smith, who offered her shoulder to support a tired Afanador. “I told him he could win this race. He likes to go out like a rocket ship and he runs, runs, runs.

“Sometimes he runs himself into the ground. But here, we were able to watch him.

“He's got so much talent, he's capable of anything.”

While Afanador was winning his first national title in his first event, Trapp was picking up her seventh national title, sixth overall at Olander.

Early last year, Trapp, 55, wasn't sure she'd ever see another race, let alone win again.

“My St. Bernard hit my (left) leg and tore the ACL,” Trapp said. “I had a cadaver graft last February and I worked real hard to come back.”

In the 2000 race, Trapp was forced to withdraw after 70 miles. Her surgically repaired knee couldn't stand the pounding.

“After what happened last year, I'm really happy,” Trapp said. “This is a great course, I just love coming here.

“I just wasn't sure if I'd be able to run here again.”

Four locals completed 100 or more miles during the 24-hour run; Larry Whitaker of Perrysburg (108.01), Bryan Huffman (105.83) and Mark Young (101.76) of Sylvania and John Nichols of Waterville (100.37).

Nichols' wife, Andrea, was the top finishing local woman with just more than 84 miles.

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