James Beyer missed his kids’ cross country meet Saturday. Michelle Farr skipped a cross country meet, too, reminding her Wadsworth High School girls runners to keep her in mind as they raced back home.
The kids can wait. This was a day for two runners old enough to receive Over the Hill birthday cards and still fast enough to sprint over that hill, down the other side, around the curve and on and on for 26.2 miles.
Beyer, a 46-year-old patent attorney from Oakwood, and Farr, a 40-year-old coach from Medina, were the top male and female finishers at the 17th annual Air Force Marathon. Close to 15,000 runners competed in the 10 kilometer, 13.1-mile and full marathon distances at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Beyer and Farr were first-time winners of the race.
“I’ve been trying to win this for quite a while,” Beyer said. “It feels good.”
“It’s awesome,” Farr said. “I’m more excited to hit the times I was hoping for. Winning is just icing on the cake.”
Beyer finished in 2 hours, 35 minutes, 47 seconds, just over six minutes faster than Joseph Czabaranek, of Shalimar, Fla. Beyer finished third last year (2:37:45), fourth in 2010 (2:35:22) and second in 2009 (2:34:08).
“I was never very close (to winning),” he said. “Never enough to be torturous. Usually, there’s a couple guys from the Air Force who will fly in and run it. I guess the rain scared them away this time.”
Beyer wore a 1972 Olympics throwback jersey. That was the year Frank Shorter won the Olympic marathon. For the first time that he could remember, he forgot to wear a watch, but it didn’t matter. He said he led from the start. He said he had won five marathons in past years.
“It stopped raining as soon as the gun went off,” Beyer said. “That was beautiful. It was actually a little chilly out there. It was a little windy, but that’s better than being sunny the whole time. It was a good day.”
Beyer’s kids didn’t attend the race because they were all running themselves. Two are in junior high, one is a junior at Oakwood High School and the oldest is a freshman in college.
“They’re going to be excited when they find out I won,” he said.
Farr finished in a personal-best time of 3:04:44, nine seconds ahead of Sarah Auer, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Farr grew up running and was injured during most of her collegiate career at Bowling Green. This was her seventh marathon overall and her first win.
“I’m actually faster now than I ever was in high school or college,” Farr said. “I ran my first marathon 10 years ago. I didn’t prep for that and ran a 3:55 and barely got through it. Now I’m 50 minutes faster 10 years later. It’s all in the preparation.”
Farr ran marathons in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland and was looking for another race in Ohio. She enjoyed the fact that runners received a discount to the Air Force Museum in their race packets because she planned to tour the museum with her 6-year-old son, Logan, and her husband after the race.
Farr also had her team on her mind during the race.
“My varsity girls ran at 10 o’clock this morning,” she said. “I said, ‘When you girls start, I’ve already done 22 miles.’ ”
2013 Air Force Marathon
Top 10 men
1. James Beyer, 46, Oakwood, 2:35:47
2. Joseph Czabarankek, 28, Shalimar, Fla., 2:41:56
3. Douglas Wicker, 40, Las Vegas, Nev., 2:42:23
4. Tim Kaiser, 30, Union, Ky., 2:43:35
5. Bryan Kelly, 30, Warrensburg, Mo., 2:43:58
6. Luke Finley, 22, Huntington, W.Va., 2:44:25
7. Trevor Schmidt, 19, Ashburn, Va., 2:45:05
8. Brad Dewees, 26, Fayetteville, 2:46:20
9. Brian Schneidewind, 32, Raleigh, N.C., 2:47:14
10. Trevor Grandy, 23, Springfield, 2:48:36
Top 10 women
1. Michelle Farr, 40, Medina, 3:04:44
2. Sarah Auer, 23, Colorado Springs, Colo., 3:04.53
3. Nicola Holdsworth, 26, Columbus, 3:06:45
4. Carolyn Hart, 26, Carrboro, N.C., 3:09:09
5. Michelle Baxter, 33, Kettering, 3:12.10
6. Cara Pozun, 26, Jacksonville, Ark., 3:14:40
7. Grace Linnabary, 22, Sunbury, 3:16.25
8. Kelly Staruch, 28, Lorain, 3:19:06
9. Stephanie Davidson, 37, Herriman, Utah, 3:19.33
10. Katie Thompson, 29, Eden Prairie, Minn., 3:19.36