Jeremy Freed and Lidia Simon victorious in the half marathon.
DENVER, CO—More than 15,000 runners hit the streets of the Mile High City on a picture-perfect, crisp and clear morning for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday. Among those runners was first-time marathoner Tommy Dialynas, a recent transplant to Denver who ran away with overall marathon title in 2:27:39, and Nicole Chyr, a tenacious local marathon veteran who won the women’s race in 2:51:08.
More than 10,000 runners ran in the half marathon, 3,400 ran the full marathon and another 2,000 or so ran in the 6.5-mile mini marathon.
Dialynas, 23, was somewhat of a surprise winner in the marathon, especially because it was his debut at 26.2 miles. The former Princeton runner took the pace out hard, passing through the halfway point in 1:11:45. He said he a bit jet-lagged from a trip to Japan last week, but he also admitted he went out a bit too hard early in the race.
“I was pretty happy with my time, for my first marathon,” said Dialynas, who works as a financial consultant in Denver. “I took it out much too fast and really paid for it the last four miles. I kind of felt myself cramping up at the end. I wish I would have been able to finish harder, but I’m really happy I stuck with it and tried to finish the best I could. It was a great learning experience and it was a great course.”
Chyr was no surprise in the women’s race. She finished third and second, respectively, in this race the previous two years and has also won other marathons, including the Kauai Marathon in Hawaii six weeks ago. But it took an extra bit of tenacity from the 35-year-old Englewood, Colo., resident to notch her first Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver win.
The Team Newton Elite runner had to outlast a tenacious competitor in Nuta Olaru, a Longmont, Colo., resident who has represented her native Romania in six world championship marathons and the 2004 Olympics. The two battled the entire race until Chyr charged up the final hill and then surged the final downhill to seal the victory with a 35-second margin over Olaru (2:51:45).
“We were neck and neck until the last mile, but I knew that hill was there,” said Chyr, who had numerous friends and family members cheering her on. “It was a perfect weather, perfect day and a great course.”
In the half marathon, Jeremy Freed, also running for Team Newton Elite, broke away from the field after an opening 5:20 mile and never looked back. He gradually increased his lead to more than 2 minutes through the 10K mark (32:48). Although his 1:08:34 finishing time was about 3 minutes off his career best, he admitted that he isn’t in top form. The 26-year-old financial analyst from Longmont, Colo., is training for the Nov. 17 Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey, Calif.
“I would have liked to have run 1:07, but I got a pretty big cramp,” Freed said. “It was one of those things that happened because I hadn’t raced in a while. But at no point was I hurting that bad, which is good.”
Jonathan Aziz, 22, who moved to Boulder in August to begin graduate school, was second in 1:11:46.
In the women’s half, Boulder resident Lidia Simon, a five-time Olympian for her native Romania, won in 1:18:01 after running away from 2012 U.S. Olympic trials qualifier Wendy Thomas (1:18:56). Simon was suffering from a bad cold and had trouble breathing during the race, while Thomas is still recovering from a sixth-place performance at the U.S. marathon championships two weeks ago in Minneapolis.
“Usually I can run under 1:15, but today I couldn’t breathe,” said Simon, who just turned 40 but admitted she’s hoping to make the 2016 Romanian Olympic team.
Denver’s Bethany Chang, 36, was third in 1:20:37, while while 2008 Olympic marathon champion Constantina Dita, who lives in Erie, Colo., was fourth in 1:20:52.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon and Half Marathon
1. Thomas Dialynas, 2:27:39, 23, Denver, CO
2. Nelson Laux, 2:34:40, 35, Arvada, CO
3. Chris Siemers, 2:34:41, 32, Littleton, CO
4. Tristan Mitchell 2:37:11, 27, Centennial, CO
5. Kevin Gallagher, 2:38:45, 34, Denver, CO
6. Bill Condon, 2:39:06, 32, Seattle, WA
7. Kevin Ellis, 2:41:52, 26, Castle Pines, CO
8. Michael Oliva, 2:47:58, 34, Denver, CO
9. Jay Miller, 2:48:22, 36, Arvada, CO
10. Logan Jones, 2:48:25, 23, Wichita, KS
1. Nicole Chyr, 2:51:08, 35, Englewood, CO
2. Nuta Olaru, 2:51:45, 43, Longmont, CO
3. Dianne Gates, 3:01:55, 49, Boulder, CO
4. Deborah Vander, 3:02:56, 28, Evergreen, CO
5. Ruby Bode, 3:06:23, 33, Estes Park, CO
6. Chelsea Randall, 3:08:17, 29, Denver, CO
7. Kara Diamond-Husmann, 3:09:19, 36, Denver, CO
8. Krystalanne Curwood, 3:09:37, Fort Collins, CO
9. Cassie Sonnenberg, 3:13:08, 28, Fort Morgan, CO
10. Karen Bertasso, 3:13:43, 29, Fort Collins, CO
Men’s Half Marathon
1. Jeremy Freed, 1:08:34, 26, Longmont, CO
2. Jonathan Aziz, 1:11:46, 22, Boulder, CO
3. Sean Mahoney, 1:13:42, 21, Gunnison, CO
4. Bob Weiner, 1:13:51, 48, Evergreen, CO
5. Steven Busch, 1:15:42, 25, Parker, CO
6. Justin Daerr, 1:16:07, 32, Boulder, CO
7. Sean McNeil, 1:16:36, 24, Littleton, CO
8. Pepi Peterson, 1:16:59, 45, Hudson, MA
9. Gary Holt, 1:17:34, 40, Highlands Ranch, CO
10. Andy Rinne, 1:17:56, 38, Colorado Springs, CO
Women’s Half Marathon
1. Lidia Simon, 1:18:01, 40, Boulder, CO
2. Wendy Thomas, 1:18:56, 34, Windsor, CO
3. Bethany Chang, 1:20:37, 36, Denver, CO
4. Constantina Dita, 1:20:52, 43, Erie, CO
5. Amanda Scott, 1:20:56, 25, Boulder, CO
6. Christine Foster, 1:22:04, 25, Monument, CO
7. Jocelyn Petrella Gallagher, 1:24:43, 33, Denver, CO
8. Stacey Chamberlain, 1:25:54, 42, Boulder, CO
9. Eva Hagen, 1:26:35, 45, Colorado Springs, CO
10. Melissa Cunningham, 1:26:40, 30, Boulder, CO
Full results will be posted here as soon as they are available.