Kyle King a 29-year-old marine won the men’s race at the Eugene Marathon clocking 2:18:04

The Eugene Marathon had to alter its course to accommodate a start and finish at Autzen Stadium this year.Organizers might want to make the change permanent.

Between the men’s and women’s Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, there were 18 new names added to the event’s all-time top-10 lists. And on a cool, sunny morning when it seemed so many were running fast, Kyle King and Jennifer Bigham proved to be the fastest.

King, a 29-year-old marine competing in just his second marathon and first since 2014, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 4 seconds. It was a 45-second victory and the third fastest time in the 13-year history of the Eugene Marathon.

It was also well below the Olympic Trials ‘B’ standard of 2:19.00 (the ‘A’ standard is 2:15:00).Bigham, a 37-year-old mother of three children under the age of 10, got her first win after running “15-20” marathons since her first in 2004. She also reached the finish line inside unchallenged in 2:41:37 — the fifth fastest finish all-time in Eugene, and also easily met the Olympic Trials ‘B’ standard of 2:45:00 (the ‘A’ standard is 2:37:00).“I’ve been trying for the Trials standard for eight years,” Bigham said.

“This is a dream come true.”It was also the only pre-race goal she set for herself. So imagine her surprise when the Pittsburgh resident found herself in the lead once the half marathoners went off in another direction.

“When they cut off, people started saying ‘You’re the first woman,’ and I was kind of shocked,” said Bigham, a steeplechaser and cross country runner during her collegiate career at Ohio State. “It gave me some confidence but it also made me say ‘Keep it cool, chill out.’ A big mistake you can make is if you’re feeling good at the halfway point and you start pushing and then hit the wall and die out.

”That didn’t happen, as Bigham won by more than a minute despite the fact the next three women’s finishers also earned the Olympic Trials ‘B’ standard.

Seattle’s Claire DeVoe was second in 2:42:46 (sixth all-time), Perry Shoemaker of Vienna, VA. was third in 2:43:33 (eighth all-time) and Meaghan Nelson of Boise was fourth in 2:44:36.King, an artillery officer based at Buckley Air Force Base outside of Denver who ran distance at Eastern Washington at Oklahoma, said he didn’t know what to expect in his race after only recently beginning to train for the 26.2-mile race.

“Honestly, it went way better than expected,” King said. “I hadn’t been seriously training for like six years. I really had no idea what type of shape I was in so I guess I was in better shape than I thought.”So much so that he struggled at times to stick to his desired pace.

“I really wasn’t too experienced with the marathon so right around miles 10-13 I was chomping at the bit to start going, but I kept telling myself ‘Wait, wait, it’s too early,’” King said. “Then at mile 15 my legs just wanted to go so I opened it up a little bit.

”Second-place finisher Anthony Tomsich of Vancouver, British Columbia finished in 2:18:49 (fifth all-time), and Patrick Richie of Portland was third in 2:19:16 (seventh all-time).The record in the women’s half marathon is 1:12:57, set by Kristen Fryburg in 2007.

She’s also the only women left on the top-10 list that isn’t from 2019 as the top-nine finishers on Sunday were all added, led by Carissa Galloway of Portland who won in 1:15:28.

Willie Milam of Boulder, Colo., set the men’s half marathon record in 1:03:07, and runner-up Kenneth Kosgei of Salem moved into second place at 1:03:07. The previous best was 1:05:04 set by Andrew Lemoncello in 2015. Lemoncello was fourth on Sunday in 1:06:46. Third-place finisher Eric Finan of Eugene moved into fifth all-time at 1:05:15.

posted Monday April 29th
by Chris Hansen