Aish, Barlow Win Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon

Arvada resident Mike Aish won the Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon. (Credit:

Macias, Pirtea win half marathon, Semisonic rocks Civic Center Park.

Written by: Dan Cruz

DENVER, CO – With cool temperatures and sunny skies, the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon & ½ Marathon crowned two past Rock ‘n’ Roll champions in the men’s and women’s marathons. Mike Aish won the men’s marathon on Sunday morning, completing the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 37 seconds.

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Arvada resident Mike Aish won the Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon. Photo:

The 34-year-old Arvada, Colo., resident previously won the 2008 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. A New Zealand Olympian who recently gained U.S. citizenship, Aish separated from the field just after mile 11 and finished well ahead of runner-up Miguel Angel Cazares of Denver. Although his time was not exceptional–17 minutes off his Arizona victory–Aish’s attitude was perfect for running the second half of the race all by himself.

“I stopped at a few of the water stations and slapped  fives with the cheerleaders, just was trying to have a good time and the fans really made it all worthwhile,” said Aish, a 12-time Division II champion over 5,000 and 10,000 meters and cross country at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. “This has been a big transition year for me and I’ve only really been training hard for a few weeks. I want to have a good shot at the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials in 2012 and today was a good step in the right direction. Hopefully there is a lot more to come.”

Australian Karen Barlow won the women’s race in 2:54:56, beating out two-time Colfax Marathon Champion Heather Utrata of Englewood, Colo. by a little over a minute. Barlow, who has been training in Boulder for the last month, dropped out of the Chicago Marathon last weekend and overcame emotional adversity to arrive at the Denver start line.

“Chicago was my goal race for the year. Unfortunately it was hot and humid and I had been training in the dry and cold, so I pulled out after suffering through 14 miles,” said Barlow, who won February’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon. “On Wednesday I rang Matt Turnbull and said I’m just up the road and I want to end the year on a positive note after putting in all this training. Goal one was just to finish, goal two was to have fun and goal three was to win if I had a chance. This just feels phenomenal and I had so much fun today. I ‘chicked’ a helluva lot of guys out there on the course.”

First across the finish line outside Civic Center Park, was men’s half-marathon winner Mario Macias of Alamosa, Colo. The 29-year-old won the 13.1-mile race in 1, hour, 5 minutes and 22 seconds.

The pace of the half marathon was set early by 29-year-old Macias, along with former University of Oregon All-American Shadrack Biwott and Australia’s Andrew Letherby, who won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon in June. Biwott and Macias jockeyed for position from miles five through nine, hitting the mile-10 split in 49 minutes. Biwott, who dropped out of the Chicago Marathon last weekend, couldn’t maintain the pace and Macias pushed ahead for the lead.

“The goal for me was to go after the state record, which is 64:52. The weather today was great just a bit cold at first,” said Macias. “With 9 miles to go I figured I could push it. I’ve been training at altitude and coming down from 7,500 feet was a big difference, I could feel it. I think going out with consecutive sub-5:00 miles cost me a little time at the end.”

Boulder resident Adriana Pirtea, of Romania, won the women’s half marathon in 1:16:03.

The Bachelorette’s Ryan Sutter joined 30 runners from Team First Descents, which included a Vail firefighter relay team, to complete the half-marathon in 1:33:14. Sutter is in the midst of a 10.10.10 challenge, to benefit First Descents, a non-profit organization that provides free outdoor adventure therapy for young adults with cancer.

“It really flew by, there is something around every corner. There are people the whole way cheering you on, it was a great race,” said Sutter, who will conclude his challenge at the ING New York City Marathon next month. “Being in Denver was pretty cool actually. It’s a great way to see the city; you are cruising through all the cool parts of downtown. The course is really great, a little something of everything with no major hills up or down. I just tried to get in a rhythm and enjoy the whole thing.”

The first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon & ½ Marathon welcomed more than 15,000 entrants from all 50 states and 18 counties. The event featured a post-race concert headlined by Semisonic, known for their 1995 hit ‘Closing Time’. The weekend’s schedule of events also included over 250 ING Rock ‘n’ Roll relay teams and more than 650 runners in the Kids Rock presented by McDonalds, a non-competitive, non-timed one-mile fun run for kids grades K-5. The second annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon is set for Sunday, October 16, 2011.

2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon & Half Marathon Results

Half Marathon–Men

  1. Mario Macias, 29, Alamosa, CO, 1:05:23, $1,500
  2. Shadrak Biwott, 25, Kenya, 1:06:27, $1,000
  3. Andrew Letherby, 37, Australia, 1:07:48, $750


  1. Adriana Pirtea, 30, Romania, 1:16:03, $1,500
  2. Amanda Scott, 22, Boulder, CO, 1:23:58, $1,000
  3. Nuta Olaru, 40, Romania, 1:24:45, $750


  1. Mike Aish, 34, Arvada, CO, 2:30:37, $1,500
  2. Miguel Angel Cazares, 23, Denver, CO, 2:42:17, $1,000
  3. Matthew Gallager, 31, Denver, CO, 2:42:25, $750


  1. Karen Barlow, 31, Australia, 2:54:56, $1,500
  2. Heather Utrata, 28, Englewood, CO, 2:56:06, $1,000
  3. Nicole Chyr, 32, Englewood, CO, 2:57:59, $750

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