First-time marathon participants capture first place
First-time participant Brian Deal was the Marathon winner with a time of 2:44.4. Deal, 28, lives in St. Louis, Mo. and went to school at Appalachian State University in Boone. The race was a good chance for him to have a reunion with many college friends and to visit the High Country.
"The scenery along the route was incredible," said Deal. "If you are going to suffer through a tough run, this is the place to do it.
Second overall was Stephen Cowie, 36, from Greensboro Cowie finished the race with a time of 2:52.26. This was Cowie's sixth time competing in the Marathon and he has won it twice. Cowie, who runs this race with friends, has also competed in marathons in San Diego, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond and Washington D.C.
Third place went to Glen Mays from Lexington, K.Y. This was Mays' fourth attempt at the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. He won the race in 2012. Mays, a 42-year-old professor, finished with a time of 2:54.45.
The men's record time still stands at 2:34:51 set by Michael Harrison in 1994.
Yu Tsuchida, 39, won first place in the women's division. Tsuchida is originally from Japan but works as a translator in Greensboro. She finished 20th overall with a time of 3:20:48.7.
"I had heard from past Marathon participants that it was really difficult," said Tsuchida. "But I knew those same runners keep coming back so I had to check it out."
The second woman to finish was Michelle McKenzie, 36, of Flowery Branch, G.A. This was McKenzie's first attempt at the Marathon and she admitted that the second half of the course with its steady incline was very difficult. The dentist was inspired to run the race by a good friend who has run the past three years and lost 130 pounds. She finished 25th overall with a time of 3:25:45.2.
Finishing third was Kelcey Carlson, 38, from Raleigh, N.C. Carlson, an anchor at WRAL-TV is a fourth-time participant in this marathon. She finished 30th overall with a time of 3:29:03.7 and said that getting close to the finish line and hearing the bagpipes is the best part.
"This is the marathon that I love to hate the most," said Carlson. "I'm miserable while doing it but in the end I realize that it's the best one that I run."
The female record for the Grandfather Mountain Marathon remains at 3:01:54 set by Patti Shephard in 1997.
A total of 385 runners from 32 states, including Hawaii, lined up for the 45th Annual Grandfather Mountain Marathon. The runners' ages ranged from 17 to 76.
For more information about the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games please visit http://www.gmhg.org or call (828) 733-1333.