Kenyan-born runner three-peats at Lake Tahoe Marathon
Nevada Appeal News Service
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – John Weru hasn’t been dodging the Lake Tahoe Marathon since winning back-to-back events in 2003 and 2004. His body hasn’t been up to running the marathon distance.
But Weru summoned his body to make it through the 26.2- mile distance Sunday to become the second three-time winner of the LTM. The Kenyan native now living in Oakland crossed a finish line aligned with cheering spectators in
2 hours, 59 minutes and 50.31 seconds.
“I’m getting old. It feels good to win a third time,” said the 31-year-old Weru. “There was no competition today. If there was someone pushing me, I was heading for 2:40.”
Tony Torres of Cedar Glen, Calif., became the first three-time champion by winning three consecutive marathons from 2007-09.
Weru finished third in the LTM in 2008 but since 2006 has struggled with aching muscles in his back and hamstrings
Weru lost contact with the rest of the field three miles into his winning run.
“I was hoping to do a 6:30-mile pace. I was on my pace, and when all of them dropped back I didn’t no how far back they were,” Weru said.
Olympic Valley’s Margaret Ashe was the top female for the scenic and hilly marathon from Tahoe City to Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe. Her finishing time was 3:34:29.18, which was good for 14th overall. Truckee’s Emily Richards was the women’s runner-up and 16th overall at 3:36:10.83.
“I’m thrilled to come in first for the women. I was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon,” Ashe said. “I did a lot of hill training and speed work … the last hill – Inspiration Point – was challenging.”
Both Ashe and Weru earned $500 for their victories.
Ian Sharman of Bend, Ore., was the second overall marathon finisher, posting a time of 3:04:03.93, Carson City’s Kirk Ferris was third at 3:05:20.23 and Sparks’ Charlie Johnson was fourth in 3:16:11.18.
South Lake Tahoe’s Sean Cronin was the top competitor from Lake Tahoe, finishing 10th in 3:31:37.23.
Despite his body’s objections, Weru plans to return next for the marathon next year.
“I’ll try to come next year and try to win for a fourth time,” Weru said. “It’s a very nice race, it’s beautiful, nice people and well-organized.”
In the 72-mile ultra race, Oswaldo Lopez of Madera, Calif., was the winner at 11:39:45.
John Munene of Santa Clara captured the half marathon title, winning by more than six minutes with his overall time of 1:18:22.43. Henares Mendez of Carson City was runner-up at 1:24:29.11.
Garnerville’s Pike Reardon came in eighth at 1:33:30.63. Carson City’s Reid Kaiser came in 31st at 1:46:02.86.
Michael Quispe of Littleton, Colo., made quick work of the 10-kilometer distance, finishing in 36:59.87.
The women couldn’t catch 14-year-old Piper McDonald of Bend, Ore., who claimed the women’s 10K title and was fifth overall at 41:35:00.
“I do a lot of races on the weekends that my parents take me to,” McDonald said. “I had a pretty good race today.”
In the 5K, Jesse Adams ran the fastest time at 17:16.95 and Michelle Beall of South Lake Tahoe was next at 23:37.19. Justin Colburn of Carson City was 10th at 26:57.86.