Sunday, October 25, 2009

Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Mentzer won in his debut at 26.2 miles on Sunday, taking the 34th annual Marine Corps Marathon by more than 3 minutes.

The 33-year-old won in 2 hours, 21 minutes, 47 seconds to beat Air Force Capt. Jacob Johnson.

Muliye Gurme of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 2:49:48, taking the lead with about a mile to go to beat Air Force Capt. Jaymee Marty by 25 seconds.

Mentzer took the lead about eight miles in and was in command by the 10th mile. He slowed somewhat in the final miles and didn’t know the size of his lead.

“I was in decent shape,” Mentzer said. “I could feel my legs start tightening up. A one-minute lead with three miles to go can disappear pretty quickly.”

The engineering duty officer, from Kittery, Maine, is stationed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. His wife, Amanda; 10-week-old daughter, Estelle; and in-laws were waiting for him at the finish, holding signs that said: “Run, Daddy Run” and “Go Daddy.”

“My wife just had our first child, so that’s making training a little more difficult,” Mentzer said.

Johnson, from Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, finished in 2:25:02. Salvador Miranda of Mexico was third in 2:25:24.

The 42-year-old Marty, from Sacramento, Calif., finished in 2:50:13. Kyla Barbour of Atlanta was the third woman in 2:50:47.

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