More than 10,000 runners ran in the half marathon and 10K races through Portland.
Local runners made good on Sunday as the third annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon returned. In true Portland fashion, a cool morning drizzle led to alternating periods of sunny skies and rainy downpour as the last of the more than 10,000 entrants finished.
Jason Griffiths of nearby Hubbard, Ore., broke away from a lead pack of three around the 8-mile mark and never looked back as he cruised to a runaway victory in 1 hour 8 minutes and 45 seconds. Paul Rottich of Beaverton, Ore., was a distant second almost a minute behind.
“The race and my time went exactly as I hoped,” Griffiths said. “It couldn’t have been better.”
In a light rain, the men’s competition quickly became a three person race as Griffiths, Rottich and Justin Gindlesperger of Grants Pass, Oregon broke from the others into a lead group within the opening miles. By mile 7, Rottich had been left behind and soon Griffiths had opened up a comfortable lead on Gindlesperger, who was slowed and momentarily stopped with a cramp. Gindlesperger recovered and finished third.
“My tactic was to run comfortably to about the 8 mile mark and then make my move, “said Griffiths, 33. “It kind of worked out well for me.”
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There was little doubt of the outcome in the final miles as Griffiths motored on with only the cheerleaders, fans and bands to keep him company.
“I felt pretty confident, I knew I had a big gap,” said Griffiths, who stole a few glances behind him to size up his lead.”It felt amazing to win, not only for me but for everyone in Portland. I felt like I was representing my city.”
Griffiths has taken a long route to get to this stage in his career. After running in high school, he entered the Navy and spent several years serving on a submarine. Upon leaving the Navy, he entered and ran at Eastern Oregon University. Now with his younger brother Eric coaching him, (who finished sixth in the race) Griffiths is just entering his prime of his career with his sights set on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.
Women’s champion Carrie Dimoff of Portland needed to dig down deep in the closing miles and steps to hold off the fast closing Danish Olympian Jess Drasbau Peterssen. Dimoff won in 1:14:41 with Peterssen five seconds back.
Dimoff knew that she was in the sights of Peterssen in the finishing miles.
“I heard her steps behind me on the bridge,” Dimoff said of the final stretch as the runners crossed back over the Willamette River towards the finish.
There was little hesitation or thought on what Dimoff needed to do next as the pair race to the finish line.
“I just started running as hard as I could,” said Dimoff, who turns 31 next week.
In the inaugural 10K race, Jimmy Gobeil of Canada won in 34:20 with Dan Kremske of Eugene, Ore., second in 35:48. The women’s race went to Karlee Coffey of Tualatin, Ore., in 35:07 with Carre Heineck of Portland second in 36:59.
The race started and finished on Naito Parkway and participants celebrated in Waterfront Park with a post-race performance by G. Love & Special Sauce. Among the participants was Tumi Oguntala, who after losing 175lbs as the at home winner of NBC’s Biggest Loser Season 15, conquered the half marathon in 2:21:54 as part of her weight loss journey.
The 4th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon will return on Sunday, May 17, 2015.
Men’s Half Marathon
1. Jason Griffiths, 33, Portland, OR, 1:08:45, $500
2. Paul Rottich, 28, Beaverton, OR, 1:09:36
3. Justin Gindlesberger, 35, Grants Pass, OR, 1:09:58
Women’s Half Marathon
1. Carrie Dimoff, 30, Portland, OR, 1:14:41, $1,000
2. Jess Drasbau Peterssen, 36, Denmark, 1:14:46, $500
3. Lauren Johnson, 35, Portland, OR, 1:16:15, $200
1. Jimmy Gobeil, 36, Canada, 34:20
2. Dan Kremske, 25, Eugene, OR, 35:48
3. Steve Cyr, 46, Canada, 36:25
1. Karlee Coffey, 33, Tualatin, OR, 35:07
2. Carre Heineck, 32, Portland, OR, 36:59
3. Laura Cadiz, 38:37, 36, Tigard, OR, 38:37