Top-3 men finish within 25 seconds of one another at P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
PHOENIX–As he turned onto the final straightaway of the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon on Sunday morning, Peter Omae took one last look over his shoulder and knew he had to wait another 75 meters before he could start celebrating.
Omae, a Kenyan living in Worcester, Massachusetts, lifted his arms in triumph when he broke the tape in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 47 seconds – 11 seconds up on Chad Ware of Fort Huachuca, Arizona. For the 33-year-old Omae, it was his second marathon in a week. He was runner-up last Saturday at the Mississippi Blues Marathon in 2:21:12.
“When you cross [the finish line] is when you celebrate,” Omae said after the race. “You can’t celebrate with 50 meters to go. I was not expecting to win because I ran a marathon last week, so I was hoping just to get top three. So when we hit 16 miles one of the guys dropped so there was just two of us and I said maybe things can go well. I tried to push with the other guy to 24 miles and I knew that guy was very strong. At 24 miles I started to push fast.”
A group of three, including Omae, Ware and Roosevelt Cook (who finished 9th in 2:33:17) went through halfway in 1:14:01, with Jeremy Zarins of Tempe just a few seconds back. When Cook fell off the pace a few miles later it was just Omae, Ware, and Zarins, who closed the small gap, running together through the 20-mile mark. Omae and Ware eventually pulled away from Zarins by the 24-mile mark and fought each other stride for stride nearly all the way to the finish line.
“I was trying to go for the win today,” said Ware, who has a 2:19:16 personal best. “ I was hoping to run in the low-2:20’s. He was just a little bit stronger at the end.”
In the women’s race, Trisha Miller of Missoula Montana, broke the tape in a marathon for the first time in her career, posting a winning time of 2:49:12.
“I was shooting to go under 2:50,” said Miller, whose previous personal best was 2:51. “That’s a huge PR for me.”
Tanya Gallagher of Phoenix was the runner-up in 2:51:24, while Tere Derbez Zacher of Scottsdale placed third in 2:53:45.
Miller held a 1:05 lead over Zacher at halfway, passing 13.1 miles in 1:25:26, while Gallagher went through in 1:26:45. By 20 miles Miller had a 1:38 advantage over Gallagher and continued to extend that lead over the final 10K. Miller’s second half was a 1:23:46, an impressive negative split.
“I had an inkling that maybe I’d get top five,” Miller said, “but honestly a win was beyond anything that I could have ever imagined. I’m speechless. It was awesome.”