A.E. Araiza/ Arizona Daily Star

ORO VALLEY — If Wilson Komen does well in the Boston Marathon next month, he can credit his winning effort in the Arizona Distance Classic.

Komen blitzed the field in the Valley of Gold Half Marathon on Sunday, winning the 13.1-mile race in 1 hour 5 minutes 50 seconds.

"This is part of my preparation," said Komen, 28, who finished 71 seconds ahead of Kyle Goklish, a 2004 UA grad who starred for the Wildcats in cross country and track.

Last year's champ, Daniel Cheruiyot, was third in 1:12:28.

Komen, a native of Kenya who lives in Washington, D.C. and trains in Albuquerque, also won the Carlsbad (Calif.) Marathon in January.

He is hoping that race, along with Sunday's win in Tucson, will help him surpass his 16th-place finish at the 2005 Boston Marathon.

Despite temperatures in the 40s and streets still drying out from Saturday's rain, top women's finisher Alvina Begay of Ganado said the race felt like a walk in the park.

"I'm not even breathing hard," Begay, 25, said after finishing in 1:19:49. "It just felt like I was going for a run. It didn't feel very competitive. But I've been training hard, so maybe that's it."

Begay, who ran cross country and track at Arizona State, finished nearly two minutes ahead of Beth Ellickson (1:21:36) of Glendale.

Begay's time was more than five minutes faster than the top effort from the inaugural race in 2005, although race organizers said the course was altered from last year.

Rolling in before Komen and Begay was 20-year-old Shirley Reilly, a University of Arizona freshman. She won the wheelchair division in 59:07.

"The roads were a little bit wet, but we train on this course all the time," said Reilly, a member of the 2004 U.S. Paralympic team in Athens. She is training for Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon.

The Northwest Medical Center 5K winners both were local high school distance standouts.

Tara Erdmann, a junior at Flowing Wells, finished in 20:09 to add that trophy to her list of recent accomplishments.

The Star's 2005 All-Southern Arizona girls cross country runner of the year won the 5A-II state cross country title in November, was a member of the Caballeros' 5A-II state runner-up girls soccer team, and on Friday, won a trio of distance events for Flowing Wells at the Ted James Invitational in Douglas.

"I just did this as a good track workout," said Erdmann, who said she wanted to do the half-marathon, but knew it could have an effect on her track performances for the rest of the season. "I'd peak at the wrong time for state."

Boys champ Joseph Cuffari, a junior at Salpointe Catholic, said he was not surprised Erdmann crossed the finish line 23 seconds ahead of him.

He said he watched her dominate the high school meet they both competed in Friday.

"She had a great race on Friday," Cuffari said. "We have a hard practice (today), so I let her take it."

● Top male finishers

Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time

1. Wilson Komen, 28, Eldoret, Kenya, 1:05:50

2. Kyle Goklish, 25, Whiteriver, 1:07:01

3. Daniel Cheruiyot, 30, Kosirai, Kenya, 1:12:28

Top Tucson-area finisher — Dennis Hellebuyck, 19, Oro Valley, 1:15.30

● Top FEMALE finishers

Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time

1. Alvina Begay, 25, Ganado, 1:19:49

2. Beth Ellickson, 39, Glendale, 1:21:36

3. Krista Plau, 32, Pickerington, Ohio, 1:26:36

Top Tucson-area finisher — Stephanie Wenneborg, Tucson, 32, 1:28.41

● Top WHEELCHAIR finishers

Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time

1. Shirley Reilly, 20, Tucson, 59:07

2. Sean Eres, 21, Tucson, 1:06:14