Exactly one year ago from Sunday, Mike Brunette of Libertyville, Illinois, won his first career marathon in Hawaii wearing a pair of pink shorts that he had picked out on a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Make it two for two.
Wearing the same shorts, Brunette won Sunday’s edition of the A2A Bar Nothin’ Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 49 minutes and 13 seconds.
“It felt good,” he said. “I really didn’t’ think that I was going to win. Within the first two miles, the first two guys took off. So, I didn’t catch them again until mile 24. When I caught them, I felt good.
“I brought the cold weather, but I also brought the northerly wind. So, that helped.”
One goal that 2010 women’s champion Katie Kramer-Ochoa of Broken Arrow has set for this year is to compete in as many marathons as possible. Two months ago, she participated in two marathons on back to back days.
Sunday morning, Kramer-Ochoa returned to Ardmore where she ran with several of her friends from Landrunners Running Club. It proved to be a successful return. Kramer-Ochoa ran to winning a time of 3:08.18.
“Today was awesome,” she said. “The conditions were perfect, except for a few stretches, but that doesn’t matter. It felt great. It was a great course for a day like today. I ran four minutes faster than I did in 2010. So, that was good.”
“I did one marathon on Friday and one marathon on a Sunday,” she said. “I wasn’t quite the same until today. I was feeling like myself until today. It felt all good.”
One Ardmoreite finished in the top 10. Suzanne Hendry placed ninth in a time of 4:05.54. Lone Grove resident Julie Keys finished in 10th, one spot behind Hendry. Keys completed the course in a time of 4:07.56.
A steady tailwind proved to be a nice change of pace for the runners.
Ardmore resident Scott Ownbey, who won the men’s JUST4KICKS 20.6-mile race in a time of 2:19.03, recalled, in each of the previous few years, southerly winds blowing into the faces of the runners.
“(In each of the last three years), it was like running into a brick wall,” the 37-year-old said.
It wasn’t just the change in wind direction that made for a more-than-satisfactory performance for Ownbey. He used Sunday’s race as a measuring stick in his preparation for the upcoming Boston Marathon (April 18). He qualified for Boston at last year’s running of the A2A.
“It worked out well with Boston because Boston is four weeks away,” he said. “It’s perfect training running for that. I practiced my goal pace and it worked out pretty well for me. It was good. I was wanting to get about a 6:49 pace (per mile) and I ended up getting 6:40. So, I was really happy with that.”
Gono Enrqiuez, winner of the last three men’s marathons, dropped out at about the 11-mile mark due to a flare-up of a nagging foot injury, Ownbey said.
“He’s been doing a lot of trails and it’s not easy on his foot,” Ownbey said.
Mary Parker made it a sweep for Ardmoreites in the 20-mile run, although she needed just about every second of her time of 3:04.28 to claim the women’s division; runner-up Amber Guthrie of Newcastle (3:05.5) was about a second behind Parker.
In the women’s 5K, Plainview High School track and field/cross country standout Kyleigh Norris (22:23) was the champion. Emily Butler (23:02) was the runner-up. Presley Caldwell (24:10) took third out of 184 runners. Riley Heller (24:43) placed fourth. Alejandra Garcia (25:24) was fifth. Alma Pursley (26:05) took sixth. Amber Freeman (27:02) was 10th.
The results were a near mirror image on the men’s side, as four of the top six placers were Ardmore residents.
Robert Freeman won in a time of 20:14, besting Brodie Tull of Madill (20:19), the event runner-up, by five seconds, and Hunter Tull (20:58), who placed third, by 44 seconds.
Fellow Ardmore residents Adrian Castaneda (21:10), Cuauhtemoc Garcia (21:40) and Pablo Martinez (22:23) placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, while Lane Willoughby (23:11) was ninth.
Sulphur’s Halen Pannell (23:08) finished in eighth.
The Valero Fast Half marathon — with 358 runners (both male and female) — had one of the largest contingent of runners in the A2A.
Ardmore resident Amarez Vazquez took fourth in 1:41. Kat Martinez finiished seventh in a time of 1:45.4.
In the men’s division, Chris Mullins placed fifth in 1:32.29.
For complete results of the half-marathon, see Tuesday’s edition of The Ardmoreite.