Phoenix native Sara Slattery wins women’s race at P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona.
PHOENIX–One hundred meters into the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon on Sunday morning and the only race that was still going on was the one for second place.
Dylan Wykes, a 28-year-old Canadian currently training in Flagstaff, Arizona, separated himself from the sound of starter’s pistol to win in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 38 seconds, nearly 6 minutes up on second-place finisher Tibor Vegh of Flagstaff, who crossed the finish line in 1:08:32. Jon Harmon of Phoenix was third in 1:08:53.
“I was hoping maybe someone would be willing to go with me the first 5K or 10K,” Wykes said afterward. “But it is what it is. I was prepared to run alone. I wanted to run hard. I really got up for this race.”
Going through the first mile in 4:47, Wykes was already 80 meters clear of the field and looked cool and confident as he time trialed through the streets of Tempe. Wykes, who graduated from Providence College in 2005, came through the 5K mark in 14:50 and passed 10K in 29:42. Despite having no one to race against except the clock on the back of the press truck, Wykes easily held his metronomic pace all the way to the finish line.
“I was hoping for sub-63 so it was nice,” said Wykes, who holds a personal best of 1:02:14 from the NYC Half Marathon last March. “It was a good effort. It was nice to go out and just put the head down. It was pretty consistent.”
Wykes, who will run the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan in March, is training to run under the Canadian Olympic standard of 2:11:29. His current personal best is 2:12:39, set at the 2010 Cal International Marathon. With two of the slots already accounted for on the Canadian team, Wykes is hoping his current momentum can carry him all the way to London.
“I’ve got a bit of work to do but it’s a good goal to have,” Wykes said of his Olympic qualifying attempt.
In the women’s half marathon, Phoenix native and 5,000/10,000-meter track specialist Sara Slattery of Boulder, Colorado broke the tape in 1:16:24 to win by 2:10 over Dorota Gruca of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Allison Krausen of Edwards, Colorado rounded out the top three in 1:18:43.
“It’s fun to be able to race at home with my friends and family there to support me,” said Slattery, who hopes to make her debut marathon next year. “It was fun. It was good to start the season here in my old backyard.”
Slattery, who is in the base phase of training for the upcoming track season, was using the race as a fitness check. She had to stop to adjust her shoe 8 miles into the race, but didn’t let the unexpected delay rattle her.
“Even with the stop I was about a minute off of what I wanted to run,” Slattery admitted after the race. “I now know where I’m at and I just have to build off of it.”
A high school teammate of Sally Mayerhoff, who won the marathon here last year and died in a tragic bike accident two months later, Slattery had her friend in mind throughout the race.
“Sally was really tough,” Slattery remembered. “I didn’t feel great out there. I felt a little tired and sluggish, so whenever I hit a rough patch out there I thought of Sally and she pulled me through.”[sig:MarioFraioli]