In the half marathon, Jonathan Lafler and Nuta Olaru were the winners, while speed skating star Apolo Ohno clocked a 1:36:49.
With a double bill of Sir-Mix-A-Lot and The Presidents of United States of America at Seattle Center’s Fisher Green, a venue packed with thousands of runners got double the fun on a stunning summer day at the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon on Saturday.
Riding a recent wave of viral video publicity from his performance with the Seattle Symphony and a mash-up featuring NBC news anchor Brian Williams, Seattle native Sir-Mix-A-Lot performed a “marathon” rendition of his hit song “Baby Got Back” with dozens of race participants on stage. The emcee, whose real name is Anthony Ray, was preceded by fellow Seattleites The Presidents of the USA who performed their sing-along songs “Lump” and “Peaches” for the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd under the shadow of the city’s iconic Space Needle.
The sixth edition of Seattle’s marquee running event did not disappoint, attracting America’s most decorated winter Olympian Apolo Ohno for his first race of any kind in the Emerald City. Ohno ran a personal best time of 1 hour, 36 minutes and 49 seconds as he trains to compete at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
“Today was awesome, I’ve never done a Rock ‘n’ Roll event before and now I’m a big fan,” said Ohno, who is supported by Built With Chocolate Milk for the endurance campaign. “Someone told me I could leave my headphones at home and I didn’t even need them with bands playing. The energy today was perfect.”
From celebrity athletes to U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers, the event crowned four new champions. With the mighty Mount Rainier shining in the distance on a picture perfect Seattle day, marathoner Drew Polley had just passed mile 21 when he started to fade. As he entered the I-90 tunnel, cheers began erupting from the thousands of runners streaming down the other side.
“It was really fun for the first 20 miles and then a gorilla jumped on my back,” he said, laughing. “But everyone started going nuts for me when they realized I was in front and that was really cool. I just love how much enthusiasm people have when they’re running.”
The cheers and picturesque views pushed him to dig deeper, with defending champion Yon Yilma regaining ground behind him. Polley had gained an early lead after dropping Yilma in the first few miles. He would finish well ahead, in 2:24:52.
“I think I got a little excited in the beginning, but that’s OK. The crowd was amazing and I just got fired up,” said Polley, a Washington State graduate student, placed fourth in the half marathon in 2009 and 2010 and plans to pursue the Olympic Marathon Trials A standard of 2:18:00 this fall. “I really wanted to win. I consider myself somewhat of a local so I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. It was sweet.”
Yilma, an Edmonds resident and local Team-in-Training coach, placed second in 2:30:52, followed by 19-year-old Alexander Rockhill of Seattle in 2:35:17.
It was a homecoming for women’s marathon winner Devon Yanko, who grew up in Seattle and attended Roosevelt High School. The California resident ran the majority of the distance alone after entering the race last minute. Her first Rock ‘n’ Roll race proved to be a great experience, winning in 2:51:18.
“Winning is awesome!” Yanko said. “It’s a really fun atmosphere and I think especially as an elite there’s a lot of super serious. I’d rather be out there smiling and having a fun time. I run best when I’m enjoying myself.”
The half marathon saw Seattle local and Polley’s college teammate Jonathan Lafler take first place in 1:08:07, ahead of Roosevelt Cook (1:10:45) and Destry Johnson (1:12:51). In the women’s race, 43-year-old Nuta Olaru dominated the field in 1:19:58, followed by Seattle’s Katie Conlon (1:23::42) and Monica Folts of Lakewood, Colorado.
The seventh annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon returns June 20, 2015.
1. Drew Polley, 28, Pullman, WA, 2:24:52, $500
2. Yon Yilma, 25, Edmonds, WA, 2:30:52
3. Alexander Rockhill, 19, Seattle, WA, 2:35:17
1. Devon Yanko, 31, San Anselmo, CA, 2:51:18, $500
2. Sarah Getty, 31, Des Moines, WA, 3:09:07
3. Jen Edwards, 30, Seattle, WA, 3:14:11
Men’s Half Marathon
1. Jonathan Lafler, 24, Seattle, WA, 1:08:07, $250
2. Roosevelt Cook, 34, Oak Hills, CA, 1:10:45
3. Destry Johnson, 29, Puyallup, WA, 1:12:51
Women’s Half Marathon
1. Nuta Olaru, 43, Longmont, CO, 1:19:58, $250
2. Katie Conlin, 24, Seattle, WA, 1:23:42
3. Monica Folts, 27, Lakewood, CO, 1:24:39