Annemarie Jutel overcame the obstacles of 89-degree temperatures and a closed gate at the halfway point to easily win the Bonne Bell 10-kilometer run in 36 minutes 55 seconds yesterday at West Potomac Park.
The heat and humidity slowed the 1,550 runners, forcing many to walk or withdraw from the all-women's race. A number of runners were assisted by medical personnel assigned to the race.
By the time Jutel reached the one-mile checkpoint, she had built a lead of about 100 yards. Midway in the race, a police officer was summoned to open a gate and did so only seconds before Jutel got there.
Cheryl O'Keefe of Columbia finished second in 38:48. Tracey Briggs of Arlington was third in 38:54.
"The heat and humidity definitely did not help me," said Jutel, 23, the director of nursing for Manpower Health Care Services in Charlottesville. "I was lucky enough to have a slight wind behind me and a good lead, so I did not have to push myself as hard."
Jutel said she decided early in the race not to attempt to beat her best time of 34:51 because of the heat and a tiring schedule of running events.