That ends our finishline coverage of the 31st Grandma's Marathon.
Thanks for joining us ...
Assorted Minnesota Women's Finishers ...
8 Melissa Gacek 2:47:59
13 Nicole Cueno 2:52:42
15 Desiree Budd 2:54:26
17 Angie Voight 2:54:54
18 Kathleen Monaghan 2:54:55
22 Stephanie Herbst-Lucke 2:56:16
25 Erin Ward 2:57:22
26 Jennifer Hess 2:57:24
31 Shelly Larson 3:00:40
32 Katie Koski 3:01:01
41 Marie Sample 3:05:30
42 Laurie Hanscom 3:05:41
44 Sonya Anderson-Decker 3:05:47
Assorted Minnesota Men's Finishers ...
22 Josh Metcalf 2:27:08
36 Derek Dippon 2:30:32
48 Jeremy Polson 2:38:51
50 Michael Benchina 2:29:31
58 Jacob Hallen 2:39:58
61 Jeffrey Renlund 2:40:05
65 Andrew Peltier 2:41:16
80 Gregg Robertson 2:45:36
Wesly Ngetich said via an interpreter ... "Last year he didn't look back over his shoulder and he got caught. This year he decided he would be looking over his shoulder a little bit and hoping also to see his fellow Kenyans on the breakaway too. Last year he was really shocked when the Russian [Sergei Lukin] caught him.
Mary Akor said ... "I was like, 'I hope it's going to be a 100 degrees!' You know people are like, 'Hope it's going to be cold,' but I like running better in the hot. I hope it's going to be hot! So, when we started it was warm and I thought, 'Thank God!' That means it's going to be my race."
Women's Marathon Official Times ...
1 Mary Akor 2:35:40 ... top USA ... first USA winner since 1996
2 Ramilia Burangulova 2:38:55
3 Tatiana Titova 2:39:58
4 Heather Hanscom 2:42:02
5 Kristen Fryberg 2:42:27
7 Jenna Boren 2:47:44 ... top MN
Men's Marathon Official Times ...
1 Wesly Ngetich 2:15:55 ... 5th two-time men's winner of Grandma's
2 Joseph Kahugu 2:17:29
3 Andrew Letherby 2:18:00
4 James Karanja 2:18:56
5 Stephen Muturi 2:20:27
6 Nick Rogers 2:20:35 ... top USA
19 Eric Hartmark 2:26:24 ... top MN
Women's marathon ... Mary Akor wins!
Marathon men: Wesly Ngetich wins his second Grandma's title in 2:15:55, unofficially ... Joseph Kahugu 2nd ... Andrew Letherby 3rd
Marathon men ... Ngetich in control of race on London Road.
Marathon women ... Akor up by 1:30!
Marathon men ... Ngetich still strong through 22M and up Lemon Drop hill ... 22m in 1:53:30 ... 20M-22M in 10:07 ... Kahugu in 2nd.
Marathon men ... Ngetich, after 20M, "looking stonger now than at any time during the race" says Dick Beardsley from the lead vehicle.
Trivia ... Last Grandma's women's champ from USA .... Mary Alico in 1996.
Marathon women ... Akor -- the 3rd placer last year and the 2006 TCM runner-up -- still leads Hunter-Galvan ... on sub-2:33 pace.
Marathon men ... Ngetich still leads over Kahugu
Marathon men ... 2005 champ Ngetich has 30m on Kahugu. Basweti is a bit further back in 3rd ... then Karanja and Omwenga.
From the lead women's vehicle ... Mary Akor leads Liza Hunter-Galvan by 10M approaching 15M.
Top Female Masters in Half Marathon ... former Grandma's marathon employee Kelly Keeler Ramacier edged Kimberly Anderson ... both were timed in 1:25:58
From the men's lead vehicle ... 15M at 1:18:08 ... five Kenyans ... Letherby trailing.
Marathon leaders ... At 10m in 52:30: Kahugu, Basweti, Gideon Mutisya, master Fedor Ryzhov, Ngetich, Michael Cox, Steven Craine, Christopher Reis. Women: 10M @ 58:30: Hunter-Galvan, Mary Akor, Marie Portilla, Lyudila Biktasheva, and Rebecca Tallam ... then Naomi Wangui 59:15 ... Kristen Fryberg 59;23 ... Tatiana Titova, Herbst-Lucke, Ramile Burangulova 60:15
Top Masters Men in the Half ... Kyle Moss of Milwaukee 1:12:16 in 22nd place ... Digger Carlson finished 23rd in 1:12:24
Paige Higgins said ... "Right now I'm looking at Chicago. I was almost thinking about doing the marathon here, but I decided to wait a little bit, let my body develop a little more for the marathon in Chicago. Hopefully, I'll qualify there, for the Olympic Trails."
Chad Johnson said ... "My mom came out to watch today. I heard her with a half-mile to go. I don't know where she was but I heard her voice. She just kept saying, "Go Chad." That was a motivator to know she was out there. I had some friends who drove up to watch me too."
Marathon leaders ... At 26:20 for 5 miles the lead pack includes Andrew Letherby, Charles Kiplagat, 2005 champ Wesly Ngetich, Reuben Chebutich, Joseph Kahugu, Charles Kamindo, Abebe Yimer, Macharia Yuot, Sammy Malakwen. Women: At 28:31 for 5 miles ... Marie Portilla, Rebecca Tallam, and Liza Hunter-Galvan. Naomi Wangui tripped the mat at 28:59, Kristen Fryberg, Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, and Tatiana Titova made it to 5 miles in 29:22.
Marathon ... 7283 runners started the marathon, of the reported 9747 registered.
Marathon ... Chad Johnson's comment on the heat the marathoners are facing ... "I'm scared for those guys."
Women's Results ...
Paige Higgins 1:14:46
Brandy Erholz 1:19:30
Laurie Knowles 1:19:38
Valeria Gortmaker 1:20:45
Jennifer Houck 1:22:40
Women's Half recap ... Higgins, a Boulder resident who won the Drake Relays 10,000 as a collegian at Kansas, pulled away from her last women's challenger at the mile mark en route to her win. As with the top men, she had hoped to run a minute or so faster, but felt the heat.
Half Marathon ... Paige Higgins wins 1:14:46.
Official Men's Half Marathon Results ...
Chad Johnson 1:05:18
Luke Humphrey 1:05:51
Matt Thull 1:06:05
Chris Lundstrom 1:06:10
Mark Stallings 1:07:40
Half-Marathon recap ... Winner Chad Johnson and Hansons-Brooks teammate Luke Humphrey had designs on Ryan Meissen's course record of 1:04:19, but after a 4:45 opening mile the duo felt the warm temperatures. Humphrey pulled away from Johnson by as much as 10 seconds, but the U of M alum caught his teammate at the 11 mile mark. Humphrey finished second.
Half Marathon ... Chad Johnson wins the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in 1:05:17, unoffcially.
Grandma's Marathon ... is underway! Temperature at the start was 63 degrees, but it feels warmer in the sun in Canal Park.
Half Marathon ... Observers on the course spotted Laurie Knowles in the lead of the women's race, followed by former Duluth resident Brandy Erholtz.
Half Marathon ... listed in the lead pack at 6.9 miles: Humphrey, Thull, Lundstrom, Johnson, Mark Stalling, Steve Meindt, Ryan Meissen, Pat Russell, Greg Costello, and Pete Gilman.
Grandma's Marathon scratches ... Defending women's champion Svetlana Nekhorosh of Belerus is a late scratch from the race due to an unspecified injury. Also out of the men's race ... Andrei Gordeev of Belarus, Zepherinus Joseph of St. Lucia, James Kariuki of Kenya, Zintu Meaza of Ethiopia, and Wilson Komen of Kenya.
Half Marathon ... Former Gold Gopher Chad Johnson and his Hansons-Brooks teammate Luke Humphrey are leading the pack in the half marathon at 2 miles. Also in the lead pack according to spotters: Chris Lundstrom of Team USA Minnesota, Matt Thull, and Ryan Meissen. No women's information yet ...
Nothing to do with Grandma's but ... three Minnesota high schoolers broke 9:00 in the Nike Outdoor National 2 Mile last night! Elliott Heath finished 3rd in the race (which Matt Centrowitz won in 8:41.55) in a new state all-time best of 8:46.12. Hassan Mead was 5th in 8:51.23; Rob Finnerty was 13th but ran 8:59.13.
Welcome to Down the Backstretch's finishline coverage of the 31st Grandma's Marathon. It looks like it could be a decent day for racing, although not the chilly-with-a-whoshing-tailwind conditions that folks dream about when they think of Grandma's.
Currently, at 6:30 a.m., the temperature is a not uncomfortable 61 degrees with a dew point of 56 degrees and light winds from the NNW. Hour-by-hour temperature predictions for the day suggest the temperatures will rise into the low 70s when the top marathon finishers are crossing the line in Duluth.
We'll update you on progress in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the 31st Grandma's Marathon as the events progress. Just refresh your browser regularly for news on all the action. The latest info will be posted at the top of the page; older info will be collected below.
We can tell you now, that Greg Liebl of Montevideo and Laura Hughes of Mankato won the men's and women's division of the William Irvin 5K last night. Liebl, a junior at North Dakota State, ran 15:17 over the flat circuit around the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center to easily defeat Dane Moreland of Lake Nabagemon, Wisconsin who ran 15:42. Hughes, a Mankato West freshman beat former Mankato State all-American Michelle Oman 17:50 to 18:01. Full results are HERE.