What started out simply as a long training run turned into a gold medal day for Ted Rasoumoff at the Silver State Marathon on Sunday morning.
Rasoumoff, a competitive triathlete whose pre-race goal was to run somewhere in the vicinity of 3 hours, picked up his pace over the last half of the race instead and never looked back on his way to winning the 26.2-mile run through Washoe Valley.
"It was supposed to be a training run, maybe around 3:10," said Rasoumoff, a 32-year-old Reno anisthesiologist. "But then I saw an opportunity to win and I decided to go for it."
As it turned out, Rasoumoff finished in a time of 2 hours, 55 minutes and 47 seconds, more than a minute ahead of the runner-up, William Stenzel from Bishop, Calif., who finished second in 2:56:53. Rasoumoff never took the lead until after the midway mark.
"From about the fifth mile to maybe 13, there were five or six of us running together," Rasoumoff said. "I was still feeling pretty good. I knew at that point that if I was going to win it, I had to race it. So I decided to speed it up a little and see if anybody would go with me, and they didn't.
"This was only my third marathon, so I really wasn't sure what to expect when I got to 20 miles," he added.
Rasoumoff, who runs for the Associated Anesthesiologists of Reno running group, dropped his pace into the 6:20 range during the stretch leading to the hills on Franktown Road.
"I slowed down the last four miles or, so but I was able to hang on," he said.
Not bad, considering Rasoumoff used this race as a training run to prepare for the Tucson Marathon in December.
"My wife (Terri) and I are going to run Tucson, so I looked at this as a kick start toward that," Rasoumoff said.
Terri Rasoumoff gave birth to the couple's first child, Anna, just five months ago and completed Sunday's half-marathon in 1:52:03.
"This is our first baby ... This has been the greatest year of our lives," Rasoumoff said, flashing a smile.
Now, Rasoumoff has his first marathon victory. The time was only seven minutes slower than his personal record of 2:48, which he set four years ago in Seattle.
"I don't know how this stands up to the winning times here in the past, but I'll take it," Rasoumoff said.
Rae Clark of Auburn, Calif., an ultra marathon standout who finished the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run 11 times between 1980 and '98, was third on Sunday with a time of 3:02:00, one second ahead of Matt Guzik from Hamilton, Mont. Stan Heinrichs of Carson City finished fifth overall in 3:07:29.
The first woman to finish was 44-year-old Susan Enlow of Corona, Calif., who ran 3:35:34. LindaJean Egbert, 35, of Phoenix, Ariz., was second in 3:47:19.
There were other highlights during the day, one of which was a winning effort by Carson City's Brian Buscay on the hill-lined 10-kilometer course. Buscay, 27, outlasted 43-year-old Miguel Tibaduiza (34-31) to win a duel between two of the top road racers in the Northern Nevada running community. Rounding out a quality pack of leaders, Chris Badolato was a close third (34:42), followed by 14-year-old Jon Cardenas of Reno (36:37), Augustin Arroy of Carson City (36:51) and Dennis Brinson of Carson City (36:56). Lynice Anderson of Reno was the first woman (39:49).
University of Nevada cross country coach Kay Gooch was the first woman to finish the half-marathon. Her time of 1:22:15 was the second fastest time by a female runner on the course.
Martin Lopez of Van Nuys, Calif., was the overall winner in 1:17:40. Chris Knafelc was second (1:20:21) and Carson City's Scott Robertson, 40, third (1:21:05).
Victoria Herazo, 41, established an overall record in the 10-K walk by posting a time of 52:10. Herazo, now living in Carson and a race walker who competed in the 1992 and '96 Olympic Games for the U.S., broke the old course record by more than four minutes. Bill Penner, 53, of Carson City was fastest among the men in 56:14.
"It was a pretty course, and entertaining, but it wasn't easy," Herazo said. "The hills were tough and walking across the pasture wasn't easy."
Running notes ... The Jim Frank Cross Country Classic will be held for runners and walkers on Friday, Sept. 8, at Spooner Lake State Park. The event starts at 3 p.m. with Tah-Neva League middle school races and concludes with the open race at 5. For information, call Fleet Feet Sports in Carson City at 883-3361 ... The Silver State Striders will host their Canyon to Canyon Trail Run on Sunday, Sept. 10, at Galena Creek Park (located off Mt. Rose Highway). The 8-mile walk starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by 8-mile and 5-K run/walk at 9 and the Striders' annual fall picnic at 11 ... The fifth annual Lake Tahoe Marathon will be held on Sunday, Oct. 8, on a course that stretches from Tahoe City to Pope Beach on the South Shore. Call (530) 544-7095 for information.