Virginia's Uyemura wins 2024 Little Rock Marathon; Fayetteville's Money tops women's division

This combined photo shows the winners of the 2024 Little Rock Marathon on Sunday, March 3, 2024. (Staci Vandagriff/ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
This combined photo shows the winners of the 2024 Little Rock Marathon on Sunday, March 3, 2024. (Staci Vandagriff/ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Trevor Uyemura made the best of an unconventional situation in the lead-up to Sunday’s Little Rock Marathon.

The 40-year-old Vienna, Va. native hardly ran in the five days leading up to the race — admittedly not the preferred preparation of someone who has consistently run marathons for the past decade. Instead, he spent his time caring for his 3-year-old son, who had come home sick earlier in the week.

Uyemura said he wanted to take it easy to start Sunday morning, but eventually the competitive juices took over as he placed first in the 2024 Little Rock Marathon field of 1,076 runners with a time of 2:42:58.8. Shamal Sullivan of Princeton, Texas and Dustin Rutter of Memphis rounded out the men’s top three with times of 2:47:09.9 and 2:51:09.5, respectively. Abigayle Money, a 23-year-old graduate student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, won the women’s division with a time of 2:51:37.4.

“It was a weird week for me leading up here training-wise, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run particularly well,” Uyemura said. “… There were a couple guys up there with me, so I decided to push at the four miles to go area and just pulled away at that point.”

He held firm in fifth place through the first 7 ½ miles with a 6:14 pace before moving into third at the halfway mark and first with seven miles to go.

Uyemura grew up running and did so until the latter part of college, where he studied to become an infectious diseases physician. After graduation and as he became more established in his career, Uyemura picked up running once again — this time with bigger races in his sights.

“When I started running again, about 10 years ago, my ego wouldn’t let me do anything that I had already done because I couldn’t do it as good as I did when I was in college,” he said. “So it was, ‘oh, I’ll just start running marathons, I have no baseline there, whatever I do there is a personal best.’”

Uyemura said he travels the country in search of new challenges, which led him to Little Rock.

“I run a lot of races, so I’m always looking for a good race, wherever it is,” he said. “Can’t run local races when you’re running as many as I do. This time of year, coming down south is usually a good way to go, weather’s usually decent. I heard good things about this race, and it lived up to its hype.”

Money’s time put her fourth overall in the marathon and more than 19 minutes ahead of the next female competitor.

Known as A-Money by friends and on the bib she donned for Sunday’s race, Money, originally from Southern Illinois, ran cross country at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo., before enrolling at Arkansas after graduation to pursue a master’s degree in English.

After moving to Fayetteville, she joined the Arkansas Track Club to continue racing. Sunday was her second marathon. Money led the women’s division from the start, averaging a 6:28 split through the first six miles and finishing with a 6:33

“I ran a marathon late April last year, and I wanted to do something like that again,” Money said. “It was, honestly, better than I thought. My goal [per-mile] pace was 6:45, I ended up being 6:33, so I’m super happy with how it turned out.”

Other than the humid, overcast conditions for Sunday morning’s 6 a.m. start, Money said she was most concerned about the hills in West Little Rock that she had read about online in her preparation.

“I was really nervous about the hills because, online, people were saying ‘oh the hills, the hills,’” she said. “I was like, I’ve done some training on hills but maybe it’s not enough. But once I got into it, I was like, ‘This is manageable. It doesn’t feel great, but it’s OK.’”

— Sam Lane

9:31 a.m.: Uyemura, Money win 2024 Little Rock Marathon

The winners of the 2024 Little Rock Marathon are Trevor Uyemura, 40, of Vienna, Va. and Abigayle Money, 23, of Fayetteville.

Uyemura won the men's category with an unofficial time of 2:42:59.

Money won the women's category with an unofficial time of 2:51:37.

— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

7:30 a.m.: Kiss, Smith win Little Rock half marathon

Robert Kiss, 26, of Little Rock has won the men's Little Rock half marathon on Sunday morning.

He crossed the finish line just after 7:15 a.m. Kiss' unofficial time was 1:15:31.

Chelsea Smith, 33, of Conway won the women's Little Rock half marathon.

She crossed the finish line just after 7:20 a.m. Smith's unofficial time was 1:21:20.

Below is a live stream of the 2024 Little Rock Marathon & Half Marathon.

— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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