Josh Cox wins marathon, goes on to set U.S. 50K record, just misses world mark. Mayeroff wins women’s race; Forrest, Perez take half marathon titles.
The day started off with Shawn Forrest of Australia taking the title in the men’s half marathon with a time of 1 hour, 3 minutes and 7 seconds. It was a narrow win for the University of Arkansas alum, as his margin of victory was only 15 seconds over second-place finisher and fellow former Razorback Alistair Cragg of Ireland.
“The first mile I just wanted to sit and get into a rhythm and then I planned to pick it up, depending on how I felt,” Forrest said after the race. “I felt great and went for it. I really wanted to win so I’m happy.”
In the women’s half marathon, Mexico’s Madai Perez led from start to finish and took the convincing victory with a time of 1:11:49.
“It’s a great stepping stone for the Pan-American games, which will be in Mexico next year,” said Perez, who will first run the London Marathon in April. “I am preparing for that. This was a great race to start out the year.”
American Kara Goucher, making her first appearance in a race since giving birth to son, Colton, in September, finished second in 1:14:02.
Despite the fact that Goucher performed to her own expectations, she was not able to beat Competitor.com rival Mario Fraioli of San Diego, Calif., who finished in 1:11:34. The two had challenged each other to a duel a few weeks prior to Sunday’s race.
“I really felt like I was in 73 to 74-minute shape, and that’s exactly what it was,” Goucher explained after crossing the finish line. “I would have loved to come and run faster, but I have to be realistic. My baby is three and a half months old. It was really, really fun. Mario was nice enough to run with me for the first 5K, but he ran his own race after that. I just had a great time. You would have thought I was running 65 minutes the way people were cheering.”
Across the Arizona State University parking lot, American Josh Cox crossed the marathon finish line in a time of 2:17:32 for the win. Instead of taking the time to let the victory soak in, Cox kept on running towards Sun Angel Stadium, where he ran lap after lap around the track to complete 50K (31.0685 miles) in 2:43:45. The time established a new American record, but narrowly missed the world record by seven seconds.
“I think I should have kept the horses in the barn a little longer, but such is hindsight, “ said Cox. “It was a great day. It wasn’t all there, obviously. I would have liked to have run seven seconds faster, but it’s just like two years ago. I wanted to run the world record then. We had a rule in college. Whenever you set a PR, you’re not allowed to say anything negative about the race. You have to be happy with a PR. They don’t come often. I got the American record and I got the title and that’s forever.”
The final victory of the day went to Arizona native Sally Meyerhoff. Meyerhoff became the first female American to win this race, finishing in a time of 2:37:56.
“I feel so awesome,” Meyerhoff explained seconds after crossing the finish line. “I’ve wanted to win this race for the past three years. It was my first marathon in 2008 and to come back in my third try to win is unbelievable.”
More than 30,000 athletes ran or walked their way through the Arizona desert towns of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe at the 2010 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon.
For complete coverage of Sunday’s event, including stories, results, photos and more, check out Competitor.com’s Complete Coverage Page.