The weather was perfect for this year’s San Francisco Marathon and Half Marathons
There is a new men’s champion at the San Francisco Marathon for the first time since 2016.
After Jorge Maravilla won the race in each of the last two years, Gregory Billington captured the 42nd edition of the event Sunday with a time of two hours, 25 minutes and 25 seconds. He averaged a blistering pace of five minutes and 33 seconds per mile, which put him ahead of Maravilla’s second-place time of two hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds.
On the women’s side, Nina Zarina jumped out to an early lead and won without much drama with a time of two hours, 47 minutes and one second.
She completed the course well ahead of second-place finisher Eleanor Meyer (two hours, 52 minutes and 16 seconds) and the rest of the field. Zarina added another accomplishment to her 2019 resume after being named the female global champion at the Wings for Life World Run in Switzerland in May.
It appeared in the first portion of the race as if Maravilla would join her in the winner’s circle when he paced the field through the first 5.5 miles.
However, Billington pulled even by the halfway mark before turning on the jets and building a comfortable lead:
There would be no doubt from there, as the American maintained and added to his lead through the back half of the course and prevented Maravilla from three-peating in the Bay Area.
Billington, Zarina and the rest of the runners started at 5:30 a.m. PT at Mission Street and The Embarcadero on a 26.2-mile course, which is a Boston Marathon and Olympic time trials qualifying race.
The finish line was at Folsom Street and the Embarcadero but only after runners went past a number of San Francisco landmarks and neighborhoods. Runners went past the famous piers and Fisherman’s Wharf, through the Presidio, through Golden Gate Park, across the Golden Gate Bridge and past Oracle Park, where the San Francisco Giants play.
They dealt with a total elevation gain of about 1,175 feet in a city that is known for its hills, further testing their endurance and strength on a grueling course.
CBS San Francisco noted 20,000 runners were expected to compete in the race, underscoring the accomplishments of Billington and Zarina against so many competitors.
Ultra superstar Michael Wardian won the 52.4 mile Ultra (that’s two SF marathons). Pictured with MBR Director Bob Anderson who clocked 1:46:45 (unofficially) at age 71 for the second Half race which might be good enough for first 70us.
posted Sunday July 28th