Wind presents a challenge for Northland's elite
Gregg Robertson ran his fastest marathon in December in Sacramento, Calif., and hoped to better that in Saturday's 34th Grandma's Marathon. He settled for third in the 40-44 age-group and finishing first among Northland residents in 2 hours, 41 m...
Gregg Robertson ran his fastest marathon in December in Sacramento, Calif., and hoped to better that in Saturday's 34th Grandma's Marathon. He settled for third in the 40-44 age-group and finishing first among Northland residents in 2 hours, 41 minutes, 14 seconds.
Not a bad performance on a windy course from Two Harbors to Canal Park. The 40-year-old from Duluth was 40th overall. He had run 2:38:26 in the California International Marathon on Dec. 6.
"I was going to stick my neck out and try to set a personal record. I was looking at 2:34 or better, so I was a little disappointed," Robertson said. "I went out with a group running 5:40 per mile and by 10 kilometers I had to drop back. I ran most of the rest of the way by myself and ran well through 20 miles.
"After that, I had a ton of leg cramps even though I was taking fluids and (energy) gels. The last few miles were just dealing with damage control."
Robertson, a registered nurse in the cardiac stress lab for St. Mary's-Duluth Clinic, has run 13 marathons and is still reaching his peak, now as a masters-age runner. He credits that to having a coach, Greg McMillan of Flagstaff, Ariz., instead of being self-coached, and having nearly three years of solid running without injury interruptions.
Other top Northland finishers included Grand Rapids native John Heitzman, 25, a resident of Albuquerque, N.M., who had an impressive marathon debut in 2:28:36, to place 28th overall as the No. 2 native Minnesotan, behind Christopher Raabe, who ran 2:17:43.
Former Duluth resident Patrick Russell of Houghton, Mich., was 44th in 2:43:59; Jonathan Balabuck of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was 59th in 2:49:43; Andy Holak of Duluth was 66th in 2:5140; Jarrow Wahman of Duluth was 67th in 2:51:40; and Brent Smith of Esko was 74th in 2:53:44, second in the men's 50-54 age group.
Koski top Northland woman
Qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the women's marathon was Katie Koski's objective, which required a time of 2:46 or faster. She made it to the finish line in 2:50:13 for a 12th Grandma's Marathon finish, placing 18th while wearing bib No. 18.
"It wasn't an incredible day for me, but it was a solid run," said Koski, a Hibbing Community College English teacher from Duluth, and previous Olympic Trials participant. "With the wind, it wasn't a prefect day. I tucked in behind some runners for a lot of the race because if I had tried to fight the wind on my own, I would've blown up.
"I waited until about the 20th mile, after getting into town, before I started to pick up the pace, and was going 15 to 20 seconds a mile (faster) the last 10 kilometers."
West winds were gusting to 18 mph at the marathon start and were at 14 mph near the finish line.
Koski, 37, expects to pursue on Olympic Trials qualifying time at the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10. The Olympic Trials race is Jan. 14, 2012 in Houston.
Jenelle Deatherage, 32, of St. Louis Park was the top Minnesota woman finisher, 16th in 2:49:27. Other Northland finishers include Meghan Roth of Duluth, 25th in 2:58:52; Leslie Semler of Hermantown, 28th in 3:04:09; Marlo McGaver of Duluth, 37th in 3:13:50; Rochelle Wirth of Duluth, 41st in 3:15:57; Sue Kainulainen of Thunder Bay, 46th in 3:17:46; and Connie Lutkevich of Duluth, 60th in 3:22:43.