Monday, Feb. 5, 2001 | 11:12 a.m.
Nike, Inc., co-founder Phil Knight didn't lace up his running shoes to participate in the 35th annual Las Vegas Marathon Sunday morning.
He deferred to his wife, Penny, instead.
"I'm not in shape to run it right now," Knight, a former Oregon track star, said between chuckles while waiting for his wife to cross the finish line. "We do believe fitness is as important as eating and sleeping."
Penny Knight finished the half-marathon in 2:23:35.
Weldon Johnson of Austin, Texas was first in the men's half-marathon with a time of 1:05:35 followed by Sammy Ngatia of Fort Carson, Colo. at 1:05:41 and Wilhem Gidabuday of Tanzania at 1:05:45. The top female half-marthoner was Rosa Gutierrez of Glendale, Ore., who finished in 1:13:17, followed by Linda Somers Smith of San Luis Obispo, Calif., at 1:13:18.
Penny Knight was joined by her niece, Brittany Hauth, friends Amy McBride, Sherry Brown and Ben Edwards as well as her son Travis' sister-in-law, Debi Huyssoon.
Knight said she encouraged the group to take up running to keep in shape. As a reward she promised them a five-day trip to Las Vegas to run in the Las Vegas Marathon.
"We might try to make this an annual event," Penny Knight said. "It gives them an incentive to keep running.
"We're having a blast here. This is such a fun run. The day we drove the route we thought it was very barren, but it was absolutely gorgeous."
Though Knight has been running for 23 years, every race is a challenge.
"There was a band at the 11-mile mark," she said. "That helped so much.
"The people were so nice, clapping and handing out water."
To celebrate, the group planned on going to the Cheescake Factory in the Forum Shops, located next to Niketown.
"We're going to pig out!" Knight exclaimed.