Grandma’s Dropout Rebounds

     A couple of running notes, including Peter Gilmore, a Grandma’s Marathon dropout, and star mountain runner Brandy Erholtz, a native of International Falls:

Peter Gilmore of San Mateo, Calif., among the leaders in the 33rd Grandma’s Marathon before dropping out June 20, came back a week later to finish second in the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon on Saturday.

Gilmore, 32, a late addition to Grandma’s Marathon, was among the pacesetters in Duluth until dropping out at 19 miles. He was runner up in Seattle in 2:18:52. Kenyan Peter Omae led a field of 5,618 finishers in 2:18:17. Michele Suszek of Westminster, Colo., won the women’s division in 2:38:37.

Also, in Saturday’s inaugural Standard Chartered KL Marathon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, three-time Grandma’s Marathon women’s winner Mary Akor of Hawthorne, Calif., was registered, but wasn’t listed among the finishers. Kenyan Frieda Jepkite Lodepa was the women’s winner in 2:40:13.

Former Minnesota Duluth athlete Brandy Erholtz of Bailey, Colo., finished second in Sunday’s USA Mountain Running Championship, at the 22nd Cranmore Hill Climb in North Conway, N.H.

Christine Lundy, 38, of Sausalito, Calif., won the women’s title in 57 minutes, 16 seconds for the 11-kilometer event which includes a vertical ascent of 2,400 feet. Erholtz was next in 57:51. The top two women helped the United States to the North American Central American Caribbean Mountain Running team championship.

Joseph Gray, 24, of Lakewood, Wash., was the overall winner in 48:37.


By Danny O’Neil, Seattle Times staff reporter

     Peter Omae was nearly finished when he started worrying.
     He had only a mile remaining in the men’s marathon, one last hill to run, but his legs felt heavy and his head seemed light. His pace slowed and he looked over his shoulder, fearful that Peter Gilmore was preparing to pass him.
     "I know he’s strong," said Omae, a Kenyan who lives in Mexico City.
     But by that time, Gilmore had troubles of his own.
     "I died a thousand deaths at that point," said Gilmore, who lives in San Mateo, Calif.
     Omae finished first in the men’s marathon in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 17 seconds. The 26.2-mile course, however, was the real winner at the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon. Entrants ran across Lake Washington, alongside Puget Sound and beneath the Space Needle.
     It was a day fit for a postcard — even Mount Rainier made an appearance — but it’s hard to appreciate the scenery when there’s a four-alarm fire blazing in your quadriceps.
     "It was a gorgeous course," said Gilmore, who finished second, 35 seconds behind Omae. "Of course, I was looking around a little bit less the second half of it."
     The women’s marathon was decided by a duel, with Michele Suszek of Colorado beating Leah Thorvilson in a race with three lead changes in the final 6 miles. Suszek won by 12 seconds in 2:38:37, the closest of the four races.
     The men’s marathon was more like a battle of attrition.
     Nine miles into the race, Omae and Gilmore pulled away as the course turned east onto the I-90 bridge. Kenyans David Kiprop Yego and Jynocel Basweit had been in the lead pack up to that point.
     The pace over the first third of the race gave them a shot at the state’s marathon record of 2:14:20, which has stood since 1984. But at the midway point, the pace had slowed.
     Omae pulled away beginning at the 20th mile. Gilmore tried to keep up, but while his mind said, "Go!" his body said, "No!"
     "My legs said, ‘Hey, bud, you’re going as hard as you can go,’ " Gilmore said.
     Gilmore wasn’t scheduled to run in Seattle. He ran in Grandma’s Marathon a week earlier in Duluth, Minn., but dropped out after running 19 miles at race pace. He wanted to take advantage of his training and fitness level, which led him to secure an entry in Seattle.
     Omae didn’t arrive in Seattle until Friday night.
     He raised his left hand as he crossed the finish line, reached to stop his wrist watch and then slowed to a walk. As he was handed a medal on a green ribbon that went to all marathon finishers, he doubled over at the waist, hands on his knees and head hanging as the physical toll of the race took hold.
     Omae was hardly the only one hurting after the race.
     "Maybe we should have gone out a little more conservatively in hindsight," Gilmore said.