Nick Szczech missed the mark for reaching the Olympic trials, but came away from the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon with a win and a lesson.
"I feel really good, so I kind of wish I would have pushed it a little harder," he told Dan Murphy at the finish. "That was more of a mental thing, so the next time I'll know that the last six miles I can push it a little harder."
Szczech finished in 2:22:17, three minutes off the time needed to reach the marathon trials in January.
In the women's division, Amber Druien, of Woodstock, Ill., also made her first marathon a victorious one. She finished in 2:54:16.
Count Team Jennipede among those who exceeded expectations on the gorgeous day for running. Organized to take home a Guinness World Record and raise $75,000 for injured runner Jenny Crain, the group put 62 people across the line and raised $108,000 (and counting). The previous record for number of runners to complete a marathon tethered together was 54.
Crain was in her wheel chair alongside the group for the last .2 mile and was at the finish line to receive a check for the money raised.
The celebration at the finish hid the significant strain of the effort, overcoming cramps and the stress of pushing dangerously close to the time limit, six hours, 30 minutes.
As Scott Krizek wrote in his recap: "At mile 20, we reached our second schedule bathroom stop but there was great concern that we could not afford another long break. This was probably the
low point in morale. Some people had to stop but the rest of the group was anxious to keep moving and I could hear some complaining along the line.
"Perhaps the greatest moment of the day was when we turned a slight corner and there was Jenny in her wheelchair with the finish line only 100 yards away. We couldn't share more than a shake of her hand or a pat on her shoulder as we approached the finish but it was enough to bring this odyssey back into perspective. We had done this for her and she had made the effort to greet us at the finish."
Marathon results are posted here.