The 2014 Grandma’s Marathon Elite Race Recap
As Dick Beardsley said, “Today has the same feel as it did 33 years ago.” The temperature was in the mid 40s, there was a light breeze off the lake and downtown was cloaked in a fog and with a persistent mist.
As I walked down Canal Park Drive I sensed what Dick Beardsley felt, today was ripe for historic record breaking. Those records would be both the course record and many runners’ personal records. Here is an accounting of some of those records.
Men’s Half Marathon Post Race Recap
Julius Koskei, no stranger to the Grandma’s course (DNF in 2011 & 2012) broke from the pack roughly at 6 miles because “he was feeling well.” He quickened the pace slowly up to mile 7 where he had more than 100m lead. He continued to expand his lead to over 200m.
Even with this sizable lead he looked back multiple times to see if others were moving up on him. In the past Fernando Cabada has, “… bit me in the head,” and passed him in the last few hundred meters. Not today though. Fernando finished third almost 1-minute back with Tim Young in 2nd.
Koskei won the half in 1:03:26.
Women’s Half Marathon
From the 10k point on Cynthia Limo lead and expanded her time from 9 seconds to over a 70 at the finish. Her time today, 1:09:50, was 10 seconds off her personal record (PR) set in April at the Madrid Half Marathon.
Top American was Dot McMahan in 3rd place, who was selected for 2013 Women’s Marathon Championship in Russia and was 4th place at the USA 25k Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The big news of the day is Dominic Ondoro making good on his pre-race statement of breaking the course record. He not only beat the course record, he crushed it by over 30 seconds. The new record stands now at 2:09:06.
With the record and the win Dominic takes home $15,000 ($10,000 for the win and $5,000 for the sub 2:10 time) and a 2014 Toyota or $16,000 cash equivalent.
Some of this money will be reinvested in his home village of Kisii by building schools.
According to third place finisher Chris Kipyego, Dominic kept asking for the others to work together. The pack complied and at 19.5 miles, just before Lemon Drop Hill, Dominic dropped the pack. According to former course record holder, Dick Beardsley, calling the race from the media van, Dominic looked smooth and poised crested Lemon Drop Hill and then dropped a 4:39 mile at 21.
USA Marathon Champion and 7th overall finisher in the Boston Marathon, Nick Arciniaga finished ninth overall in a time of 2:14:31. Fellow Flagstaff runner Jordan Chipangama moved through the pack and finished fourth overall in a PR 2:12:22, more than 45 seconds faster than he ran last year at Grandma’s Marathon. Twin Cities Track Club member Joe Moore finished in 2:19:13 also besting his prior PR by more than 15 seconds.
There was no new course record for the women’s race this year. But the suspense of the race was still there. Almaz Negede broke from away from defending champion and course record holder, Sarah Kiptoo after mile 2. She was on 2:20 pace for a while, building her lead to almost 2:00 lead over Doreen Kitaka at one point.
Slowly Sarah and Pasca Myers began to reel them in. At mile 20 Pasca was 30 seconds behind and Sarah was 1-minute behind, but by mile 21 both had caught Almaz. The three ran together until mile 23 where Pasca powered ahead. By mile 25 Brianne Nelson and Lauren Jimison caught up with Sarah Kiptoo who was alone.
Brianne pushed ahead of Sarah as the course snaked around the S Lake Ave Bridge finishing in a PR of over 8 minutes in 2:34:44. Sarah was able to hold of Lauren to secure 3rd place. This was Lauren’s marathon debut and finished in 2:35:19, easily meeting the qualifying standard for the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials.
Pasca set a PR this year, 2:33:45, besting her time she set here last year by close to 40 seconds. Note: Pasca lives in Iowa with her husband and is in school part time at Iowa Central Community College. She is studying nursing and looks to work in pediatrics.
Alana Hadley dropped out some time after the half marathon. Doreen Kitaka also dropped out. Maria Olalde’s 3-race win streak ended as she finised 8th overall. Jenna Boren DeNucci finished in 2:48:03. Emma Lee debuted in 2:43:21 just missing the qualifying standard for the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials.
Your 2014 Grandma’s Marathon
Did you run Grandma’s marathon 2014? How’d it go? Share your race story in the comments below.