Hermiston’s Jake Puzey found his schedule worked out this weekend for him to run in the 33rd Tri-Cities Marathon.
Spokane’s Sarah Ranson wanted to run in it. She just waited until the last possible minute to register for the event.
As it turned out, things worked out well for them both as they were the individual champions in Sunday’s event.
For Puzey, 31, it was his first victory in his first try, finishing the 26-miles and change course that runs through all three of the Tri-Cities in 2 hours, 38 minutes and 26 seconds.
He finished a little over three minutes ahead of the runnerup, Trae Richardson of Eugene.
This was also Ranson’s first attempt.
The 40-year-old stay-at-home mother covered the course in 2:58:22 — just a shade under 3 hours — and 98 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Anna Denn of Salem, Ore.
For Puzey, the timing to run this race was perfect.
As the head cross country coach for Hermiston High School, he was never able to compete in the marathon.
“In the past it’s always been during our district meet or the Oregon state meet,” said Puzey. “Our district meet was Saturday in Pendleton. So it worked out.”
He still needed the approval of his wife, however.
“I was supposed to teach Sunday school,” he said. “I told my wife I’d be back in time to do that, and I did.”
But Puzey is no stranger to Tri-City races: he’s done the St. Paddy’s Day Foot Race, the Turkey Trot and the Cable Bridge Run.
“Most of the course was familiar,” he said. “I recognized the Turkey Trot route (in Columbia Park). It was really pretty. I’ve never done the whole marathon here.”
Puzey said he took the lead early, as he crossed over the I-182 bridge from Richland into Pasco at about the 1-mile marker.
“I just wanted to have a quality run,” he said. “A marathon is just a bunch of 5-K races put together.”
While he qualified for the Boston Marathon, he won’t be running it anytime soon because as a teacher he doesn’t want to take that time off in April.
And he’s now back to concentrating on his Hermiston runners at next weekend’s state meet in Eugene.
Ranson, however, had already qualified and signed up for next spring’s Boston Marathon before she competed Sunday.
“I’d been thinking about doing this race for a couple weeks,” she said. “I just wanted to get another run in before Boston.”
She had the lead early and held on the rest of the way.
“The course is pretty flat, but the way back I felt it was a little uphill,” she said. “And we had a headwind on the way back.”
Ranson attacks a marathon as a 10K, a 10K, then a 6K.
That works for her.
“It’s a great race,” she said. “I’d like to come back next year.”
For race results, see Tuesday’s sports section.