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FULL COVERAGE: Ideal conditions: Top Little Rock Marathon runners say cold, wet weather not deterrent

MADHAN BOSEMANI, 41

South Lake Texas, 4:21:25.16

• Bosemani, a pediatric neuro-radiologist, completed a marathon in his 10th different state. His goal is to complete a marathon in all 50 states. "It was good, very good. It was very well-organized."

CARISSA BRUNSON, 41

Burleson, Texas, 4:15:42.33

• Racing on her birthday, Brunson was hoping to use Sunday's race to prepare for another one. She found Little Rock's hills to be a challenge. "It was really tough. Those hills were killer," said Brunson, an accountant. "The weather was great, but I wasn't prepared for the hills. The last two were the toughest, but around Mile 16 was rough, too."

NOLAN CARTER, 43

Conway, 3:33:52.42

• Carter, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Central Arkansas, said he expended as much effort during the final 3 miles as he did during the first 23. "At least it wasn't hot, but it wasn't easy. I'm glad it's over."

SEKOU CHARLES, 44

Chicago, 4:31:16.33

• Charles, a hospitality manager who has run 45 marathons since 2012, said he runs to stay in "fighting trim" shape. "I was expecting a bunch of hills, but it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it was. I enjoyed it." As for the weather: "It drizzled, it snowed, it hailed, but it wasn't what the forecast said. I was expecting 100 percent rain."

ALBAN CROOK, 28

Des Moines, Iowa, 2:59:56.39

• Crook, a baker for Hy-Vee who completed his eighth marathon, said it's always his goal to break three hours, and he did it again Sunday. "By the skin of my teeth," he said. "The beginning was rough because it was still raining." Crook said things were better once the runners got on the course, especially after the turnaround when the wind was helping.

COURTNEY FISHER-LEWIS, 36

Mission Hills, Kan., 3:54:57.03

• Fisher-Lewis, a mother of three, decided after running in several half-marathons and 10Ks that it was time to step up to her first full marathon. "I'm addicted," she said. "I've been running forever, starting in high school and I just kept doing it. After I ran a half not long ago, I felt like I could keep going." A chief information officer at a hospital, Fisher-Lewis said her first marathon experience was positive. "It was good. A little cold, a little ice in the face, but overall it was good," she said.

Gallery: 2019 Little Rock Marathon photos by Democrat-Gazette photographers

RAYMOND GALLARDO, 31

Denver, 4:18:56.19

• Sunday's weather was not anything new for Gallardo, who works for Southwest Airlines in Colorado. "We have some weather there, sure," he said. "There was some sleet today, but nothing too bad." He is another runner chasing a goal of racing in all 50 states. Sunday marked the 33rd state in which he has raced. Gallardo's entry into marathon running was health-related. "I quit smoking about five years ago, and that's what motivated me," he said.

TRENT HERZOG, 21

Winston-Salem, N.C., 3:25:41.46

• A student at the University of Florida, Herzog said running has been a good connecting point with his family. "I guess my freshman year of high school was when I starting running competitively," he said. "We've sort of made it a family affair. My dad is out today, and my sister is running the half [marathon]. My sister lives here, so it was a good reason to come." Sunday was Herzog's sixth marathon in six states.

PAULINE JAMESON, 29

Argyle, Texas, 4:14:49.93

• Jameson, an airline pilot for American Eagle, said she learned to fly before she learned to drive. Running fits into her schedule. "It's something I can do no matter where I am. There's always a treadmill, or some back road." Jameson, who is shooting to run a marathon in all 50 states, said she has run full marathons in six states so far. Sunday's race went much better than she thought it would when she woke up. "I was just cold enough where you never overheated, but there weren't a bunch of puddles. I will definitely be back."

LAURA KEARNS, 36

Little Rock, 3:29:05.99

• Kearns, a kindergarten teacher who completed her fifth Little Rock Marathon and 11th overall, said the conditions weren't as bad as she expected. "I thought it was going to rain hard in the beginning."

COLLEEN KORDSMEIER, 35

Little Rock, 4:32:10.57

• Kordsmeier, a Little Rock attorney, took a trip through her past while running her first marathon. "I got to run by some places where I went to school," she said. "I went to Gibbs [Elementary], Central [High School] and Pulaski Heights Middle School, so that was nice." The race itself was challenging, but went well, she said. "It was good. It was tough," she said. "In the beginning, the weather was really hard to get through. But I actually like running in the cold."

KATIE KRAMER, 39

Broken Arrow, Okla., 3:21:39.42

• Kramer, a liquor store manager, counts three Little Rock Marathons among the 117 she has run. "It's my biggest hobby," Kramer said. She plans to continue running marathons "until I can't walk anymore."

DEUKWOO KWON, 50

Miami, 3:12:22.68

• Kwon, a 50-year-old statistician for cancer research, completed his 85th marathon with a goal of completing one in every state. He said the weather was no problem. "I like cold," he said. "I used to live in Maryland, so I'm used to it."

RACHELA LACK, 43

St. Clair Shores, Mich., 3:18:52.08

• Lack, a real-estate agent and grandmother, has completed 25 marathons since she started running in 2014. She said Sunday's race was "work" but not because of the conditions. "The weather was perfect for me because I overheat in the summer. I've been waiting for a day like this. The course was hilly. It's tough, but what comes up comes down, right?" Up next is a 50-mile race in Arizona and the Boston Marathon in April.

BEATA LARSON, 50

Addison, Ill., 4:00:21.73

• Sunday's race conditions -- cold, windy and moments of rain, snow and sleet -- prepared Larson for a significant race in Larson's career. "In December, I will race on my seventh continent when I do the Ice Marathon in Antarctica," said Larson, who was born in Poland. "Today was good training." Like many racers in the event, she is also on a quest to run marathons in all 50 states. "This was my 37th marathon and now I've got 22 states," said Larson, who works for American Airlines at O'Hare International in Chicago. "I'm on a mission."

PETER MERCREDI, 33

Memphis, 4:25:05.52

• Mercredi, a scientist at St. Jude's Research Hospital, completed his fifth marathon on a day when runners experienced all the elements of winter on the same day. "It was a great experience to come to Little Rock, run over some hills and receive a unique medal. It was an interesting morning. We had rain, we had ice, we had hail, and we had a little bit of snow."

TODD MERRIMAN, 30

Searcy, 3:47:32.29

• Merriman, a Walmart employee, finished his second marathon and had no problem with the conditions. "It's better than it being 100 degrees. The first 3 miles were rough, but then you get warmed up and cruise on through."

JEFF MISH, 61

Hadley, Mass., 4:05:50.84

• A high school cross country coach, Mish knew he was injured before starting Sunday's race, but he was not going to let that stop him. "I think I have a little stress fracture, and I came into the race with that, but I wanted the medal," he said, laughing. "Plus I had already bought my plane ticket. I just went in the medical tent and the guy said, 'Yeah, you should probably get that looked at.' "

RYAN NATALINI, 38

Shreveport, 3:11:37.92

• Natalini said the weather was mostly optimal. But only mostly. "The temperature is good, and the rain helps you cool down some," he said. "But that wind was no good. No good at all." It was the 15th marathon for Natalini, who is in the Air Force, but it was his best finishing time by about four minutes. "I really started training hard about nine months ago," he said. "It was my third time running this one, so I kind of knew the hills and knew where to take it easy, where I could pick it up a little bit."

DOMINIQUE OBERLI, 38

Little Rock, 4:08:49.94

• Oberli, a Cisco delivery driver who is originally from Switzerland, said Arkansas compares favorably to his home country as far as outdoor opportunities. "Swiss people love to go out, and we can do that here. And the people are very friendly. We love it." As for the race, Oberli said he wasn't as prepared as he was for his first marathon in Virginia last fall.

JOHN RAMSAY, 35

Nashville, Tenn., 4:23:34.64

• Marathons are not the most lengthy races on the resume for Ramsay, a project manager for a demolition company. He has also competed in five 100-milers, finishing four. He has wanted to race in the Arkansas Traveller 100, held each autumn in the Ouachita Mountains. "I met Chrissy and Stan Ferguson, the race directors, in the summer of 2008," he said. "I was going to run it, but my brother got married that day. I want to, just haven't been able to make it work."

LARI RANTA, 51

Rowlett, Texas, 3:50:43.53

• An English professor at Collin College in Plano. Texas, Ranta ran her best marathon time at last year's Little Rock Marathon. She did not top that time Sunday. "I was struggling a little bit. I think the wind and sleet stopped me a little bit," she said. "But that's all right. Some days you beat the course, and some days the course beats you." Sunday was her fifth Little Rock Marathon and her 21st overall. Ranta said Little Rock is her favorite race. "Absolutely. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get started," she said. "There is no better course support than the Little Rock Marathon."

MAC SIMPSON, 23

Tulsa, 4:23:58.12

• Simpson, a financial analyst, said he was glad to get his first, and possibly last, marathon under his belt. "I'm very happy it's over. I've done it," Simpson said. "I never need to do it again."

PENNY STAMILE, 48

Bentonville, 4:20:30.78

• Stamile had good reason to be beaming after finishing Sunday's race. "I PR'd this course by 45 minutes today," said Stamile, who was competing in her third Little Rock Marathon and ninth overall. "I guess I just ran fast this time." A director of development for a pregnancy resource center, Stamile said her motivation for improvement was clear. "My boyfriend is my coach," she said. "He's speedier. I've got to keep up with him and impress him."

ALEXANDRA STOVER, 24

Euless, Texas, 4:01:53.70

• Stover, a flight attendant for American Eagle who makes numerous trips to Little Rock, said her job allows her to run in different cities on a daily basis. She enjoyed the Little Rock Marathon. "It's got everything. It's got neighborhoods, it's got bridges. There was always something different, so they used the city pretty well." Stover said running marathons and being a flight attendant have similarities. "It's something that puts you out there with regular people."

SCOTT SUURMEYER, 39

Tulsa, 3:50:46.53

• Suurmeyer, a mechanical engineer, completed his first marathon after picking up the sport six years ago. "The weather actually wasn't bad. There was wind, but I'm from Oklahoma, so I'm used to wind. I was expecting more hills, but it didn't seem as bad because I was dreading it."

KELSEY WALKER, 33

Russellville, 4:05:44.15

• Walker, who works for the government, completed her fifth marathon and her second Little Rock Marathon. "I actually kind of like the hills, how it breaks up the course. And it's interesting, if you're going around a corner, something psychological, you think it might be different when you make the turn."

THEO WOLDBERG, 62

Amsterdam, 3:29:45.35

• Running near his home in the Netherlands, Woldberg never sees what he saw Sunday in the Hillcrest area. "At the end, it was heavy because in the Netherlands, it is all flat and here it is not flat at all," said Woldberg, who won his age group in Saturday's 5K race and will head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras today. "It breaks me up quite a bit at about 30K [18 miles]. I went from a [pace] of about 12K an hour to about 11K an hour." Woldberg, an information technology analyst, said he has been running for nearly 50 years and Sunday was his 57th marathon. "New York three times, Las Vegas two times, but mostly in Europe," he said. "Amsterdam about 20 times, Berlin about seven times."

ALEJANDRO YEPEZ, 47

Fort Smith, 3:19:38.47

• Yepez ran in his first marathon in Little Rock last year, turning in a time good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Sunday was his second, but he runs at Boston next month. "The weather was nice. I love it," he said.

RIPLEY SELLERS, 27

Los Angeles, 3:54:20.90

MELISSA JOHNSON, 26

New York City, 3:54:21.47

• Sellers and Johnson, who live on opposite coasts, spend time together by meeting up for events like the LR Marathon.

Sports on 03/04/2019

Print Headline: Little Rock Marathon finish lines

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