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Finish Lines

by Frankie Frisco | November 22, 2021 at 1:56 a.m.

Christina Addison, 33

Burlington, Kan.


Addison, a middle-school physical education teacher and cross country coach, finished second overall in the women's division. "It was a little hillier than what I'm used to because it's really flat in Kansas. I really enjoyed the architecture of the buildings and the old houses that we ran through. With all the trees, and the colors changing, it was really beautiful. Addison said she recently ran the Chicago Marathon and decided to take advantage of her fitness to run Little Rock, her 20th marathon. "I tried to start off conservative, but then I tried to get in position so I could place."

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Andrew Arguelles, 32

San Diego


Arguelles, who's been stationed at Jacksonville Air Force Base for two years, ran his first-ever marathon Sunday.

The California native said he's been running about 50 miles a week in preparation for the Little Rock Marathon, but that his performance didn't go as well as planned.

Lauren Baxley, 30



Baxley, a burn nurse at Arkansas Children's Hospital, completed her second marathon and said it was a more enjoyable experience than her previous try in Memphis. "I broke 4 but I didn't remember the last hour. I passed out at the finish line."

Sally Boles, 53

Mission Viejo, Calif.


Boles, a swim instructor and a running coach who works at the local YMCA, completed her 212th marathon and qualified for the 2022 Boston Marathon. "Every marathon is a gift. You never know what the day is going to bring. I love running marathons."

Mark Buckner, 38

Billings, Mt.


Buckner, a high school German teacher, at two high schools in Billings, is on a quest to run a marathon in all 50 states. Buckner ran a marathon on Saturday in Meridian, Miss. He has 18 completed in 16 states. "It was an exhausting two days." Beuckner said it was also enjoyable. "I've run in Montana and Hawaii, and I thought this was one of the most scenic courses.

Samantha Costas, 31

Valparaiso, Ind.


Costas, a recent flight school graduate, started running with a half-marathon back in 2016 before doing her first full in Chicago later that year. Little Rock was her 15th marathon in 10 different states and she's run all of them wearing different costumes. "I've done pizza slices, I've done a popcorn costume, and I did this today as a strawberry."

JB Flippo, 39

Huntsville, Ala.


Flippo, a sales representative, finished only his second full marathon in Little Rock after recently getting into running and completing his first in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala., in 2019. "I've got two boys [aged 10 and 8], so I had to get healthy, man. I've got to keep up with them." Flippo plans to run a half-marathon in a couple of weeks and then will run another marathon in January.

Ryo Fujiwara, 39



A pharmacy school professor, Fujiwara has run the Little Rock Marathon four times of his 10 total because he enjoys the course so much. "It's a hilly [course]. It's very uphill and it kills me every time." He's moving soon but expects to come back for the race again.

Kelly Gibbs, 32

Little Rock


Gibbs, a gastroenterology fellow at UAMS, had never run a full marathon before Sunday but hit her pace nearly on the nose. "My number one goal was just to finish, and even if I had done it in five hours, I would've been happy finishing. But secretly, I wanted to hit or break four [hours]." She hasn't had much time to train with medical school but took advantage of her final year and had the support of her husband who had previously run the Little Rock Marathon.

Boyd Goodner, 39



A vice president of sales for a technology company, Goodner -- after previously running half-marathons in Batesville and Greenbrier -- finished his first marathon with some advice. "It was hilly at the end, so be prepared if you ever run it." He started running during the pandemic and made it his goal to compete in the Little Rock Marathon as his first full.

Pradeep Gorrepati, 44

Little Rock


Gorrepati, an engineer, who celebrates his 45th birthday today, completed his eighth marathon and his second in Little Rock. "The first time I was nervous. This time, I enjoyed it."

Susan Holt, 47

Brookings, S.D.


Holt, a UPS driver for 28 years, has done several distance races this year, highlighted by a six-hour event in Lennox, S.D., called The Blood Run. A co-worker got her to sign up for her first 5K race nine years ago and Sunday was her first time competing in Little Rock. "I thought [the course] was great. I guess I anticipated that the hills were going to be a little more like what [some of my past events] were like, so I could've started off quicker but hey, I'm happy with the time."

Chad Johnson, 43

Ozark, Mo.


Johnson, who works as an insurance agent in Ozark, Mo., last ran the Little Rock Marathon in March 2020, though he didn't finish the race.

Johnson was sick the morning of the last race, he said, and managed to make it 18 miles before being taken off the course.

This was Johnson's sixth marathon, and Little Rock is the only marathon he's ran outside of Missouri.

Earl Johnson, 53



A food scientist, Johnson said he's run Little Rock at least eight times.

"I run it for this," he said, pointing to his medal.

He attested that the Little Rock Marathon's medals are the biggest of any race he's ran. He couldn't pick a favorite medal from the races he's ran, but said the medals are what keep him coming back to Little Rock.

Thomas Johnson, 34

Edina, Minn.


Johnson, a clinical research associate who is working on a covid-19 study, completed his 17th marathon with a goal of completing a marathon in all 50 states. It was his first run in Little Rock, but it was his fifth marathon of 2021. "The pandemic pushed them all into this year. ... Tough course, especially the last half. Great atmosphere. Very well run. Never felt like I was lost or anything like that. Plenty of officials on the course. Great refreshments, great cheering."

Lisa Larsen, 50

Austin, Texas


Larsen, a civil engineer, ran her first Little Rock Marathon on Sunday.

Larsen said she tries to run at least a marathon in a different city every year, and she'd heard good things about the race.

She said she's enjoyed the history and the foliage on her trip to Little Rock, specifically visits to the Governor's Mansion and Little Rock Central High School.

Jared Levine, 49

Sterling, Va.


Levine, a federal government employee, completed his first Little Rock Marathon but his 51st overall. Levine said he has run marathons in 13 states and said he would eventually like to run a marathon in all 50 states. "The big goal for me is to break 3 hours, and I was nowhere near it today." Levine was wearing the oversized Little Rock Marathon medal but not for long. "I don't know that I am ever actually going to wear the medal for more than a minute or two. I think it would break my neck. It's insane. It definitely lives up to the hype."

Tim Mahler, 61

Springfield, Ill.


Mahler, who is "semi-retired," ran his sixth Little Rock Marathon on Sunday.

Mahler said he's only been running for 10 years, but that "I get into that running mode, and happy 5 miles, I'm happy," he said, pointing to his bib, which was labeled "HAPPY."

Mahler said he's run 391 marathons in 10 years, and runs five times a week, for about 10 miles per run.

"I don't get happy until I pass mile 4 or 5," he said.

Erika Maurer, 27

Evansville, Ind.


Maurer, a project manager for Confluent Health, said it was a perfect day for a marathon, her 14th. She wants to run a marathon in all 50 states. "I don't have a timeline, I just want to have fun, but the race was very nice ... a little hilly. The first 13 miles I would consider flat, and they get you on the back." Maurer said she enjoyed running past Little Rock Central High School, the state Capitol and Rebsamen Park Golf Course. Her next marathon will be at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Mark Middleton, 50

Dunedin, Fla.


A real estate agent, Middleton accidentally started his quest to complete one marathon in each of the 50 states eight years ago and checked off his 32nd in Little Rock. His next is in San Antonio two weeks from now, and Middleton expects to complete No. 50 sometime in 2022. "I didn't follow my coach's plan, so I didn't do as well as I should've, but it was still a great course and a good run," he said of his performance.

Perkins Mukunyadzi, 58

Little Rock


Originally from Zimbabwe, Mukunyadzi is a physician who has lived in Little Rock for 30 years. He's competed in his hometown race several times and is closing in on his 30th, with Tokyo next on his list, either next year or the year after. "The good thing [here] is that we have great training trails. I go out by the river in the morning and smell the fresh air. ... It's always a good time."

Jamie Newton, 34



Newton, an infantry officer for the Arkansas National Guard and the mother of two, completed her 14th marathon -- her fifth Little Rock Marathon -- with her 6-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son cheering her on. "They're my driving force," said Newton, a Sheridan High graduate. "Having them at the finish line is what made me finish. As an infrantry officer, Newton said she does a lot of field work and hopes to someday serve the country aboard. "That's why I signed the dotted line."

Casandra Oldham, 49

Leesburg, Va.


Oldham, a child advocate who has two children with autism, completed her 30th marathon, all in the past five years. She suffered an accident in her 20s, leaving her without an ankle joint. "They were going to amputate my leg but I went and got stem cell treatments. They saved it. Running means something different for me because I was told I'd never run again. But I tell people just take it a mile at a time. Everything is hard at first. The more you do it the easier it gets. You just got to push through." Oldham said she is considered a parathlete because of her leg condition and beat the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon by nearly 2 hours. "You always try for a PR, right?"

Micah Osbourne, 33

Little Rock


Osbourne, a certified public accountant, was the seventh man to cross the finish line and the ninth overall. Although he's a local, it was just his second time running the Little Rock Marathon and his goal was to complete it in under 3:15 and be among the top 10. When told of his place, Osbourne said, "Oh, really? I wasn't expecting that at all."

Patrick Reed, 52



A Tahlequah, Okla., native, Reed is a retired Air Force pilot who now works as a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines.

Reed said he runs by himself often, and has made it a tradition to go running on overnight trips with Delta in different cities.

Reed ran his first Little Rock Marathon in 2011. He also ran in the Boston Marathon last month.

Abrena Rine, 39



An X-ray technician at Arkansas Children's Northwest, Rine slipped into the top 30 and had the sixth-fastest time among all women. This was her 39th marathon after running in Boston last month, and the Disney Marathon, which is slated for Jan. 9, will be her 40th marathon -- coming just four days before Rine's 40th birthday. When asked why she ran in Little Rock for a fifth time, Rine replied, "The big medal."

Kelsey Walker, 36



Walker, a sex therapist, completed her third Little Rock Marathon and her sixth overall. "This is my favorite. It's my home state, but also, it's a big deal. You 'all make it a big deal. I'm from Russellville. This is my big city experience. ... It was surprisingly delightful. I had a pacer who helped me, and I didn't even have to use my headphones."

Stephanie Weldon, 51

Brandon, Miss.


Weldon, who's a cellist, ran the marathon on Sunday after competing in an iron man competition two weeks prior, and the Little Rock race marked her 125th marathon.

"We love it," Weldon said, clad in Cheshire cat costume. "It's one of our favorite regional races."

Weldon said her grandparents lived in Little Rock for 30 years, and that it feels like a second home. Her husband, Patrick Weldon, was also running the marathon on the anniversary of a hip replacement. She said he's run 145 marathons.

"We're just having fun [today]," she said.

Penny Whelchel, 39



Whelchel, who's a dietitian and professor at Henderson State, said she last ran the Little Rock Marathon in 2009. She's ran 20 marathons since then, but told herself she wouldn't run Little Rock again without one stipulation -- a rabbit on the medal.

"I'm obsessed with rabbits," Whelchel said, clad with rabbit ears and showing a rabbit tattoo on her left calf. "They called my bluff."

Whelchel, who also has pet rabbits named Radar and Echo, said she's run "a lot of marathons," but target ones that involve rabbits in some form or have a rabbit theme.

Greg Yarbrough, 49

Little Rock


Yarbrough, the managing editor for Fox 16 and KARK 4 News, "couldn't tell you" how many times he'd ran the Little Rock Marathon, but Sunday was his 18th marathon overall.

He said he first ran at Little Rock 17 years ago in a relay race,and has been hooked since.


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