Mary Flaws ramped up her training three years ago and has been unbeaten since in the Indoor Icebreaker Marathon Gold Medal Challenge.
The cookie baker and computer specialist from Waukesha secured the three-peat on Sunday with a victorious marathon in three hours, 13 minutes, a day after she ran a 1:34:01 in the half marathon.
Her combined time of 4:47 was two minutes better than her winning mark in 2011.
Mary Flaws, left, and Mac McCulley stride to victories in the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon. Both won the marathon on Sunday and the combined Gold Medal Challenge. Photos by Angela Peterson.
Flaws, 44, has been the only winner in women’s division of the Gold Medal Challenge, created in the second year of the popular Indoor Marathon.
Mac McCulley, a high school coach from Volo, Ill., also executed a sweep on the 443-meter track in the Pettit National Ice Center. McCulley, 27, won the half marathon on Saturday and pulled away from the field to win the marathon on Sunday, in a time of 2:39:28.
The complete results can be found here.
Both Flaws and McCulley plan to run ultra marathons in the coming months, they used the high training volume to their advantage.
“I run a lot, and I do back-to-back long runs, so I’m used to running on tired legs,” Flaws said.
Her move to the front of the pack started about three years ago, when the 44-year-old upped her weekly mileage from the 40s to the 80s.
As part of the Running in the USA web team, Flaws has been a positive force in the sport, and a unparalleled provider of cookies. The finish line treats included some of the 720 cookies she baked for the indoor marathon weekend.
McCulley rededicated himself to distance running after his high school coach at Hoffman Estates High School, Pete Reiff, died in 2003.
“I decided to run a marathon in his honor and it took off from that,” he said.
“He taught us that running was a catalyst to being a good man,” McCulley said. “If you apply the principles of running in life, you’ll have a good life.”
Nearly 800 runners followed that aphorism around the track in the Pettit. They filled every available slot in the 5K, two half marathons, a marathon relay and the 96-lap, full marathon.
Among the notable performers was Kristine Hinrichs, the director of the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, who turned 96 laps to complete her 96th marathon.
McCulley laughed after the marathon that the Icebreaker was his fist big indoor track meet since high school.
"I was surprised by all the support," said McCulley, who coaches track and cross-country at Woodstock High School. "Everybody was encouraging."
His next challenge will be much different: the NorthCoast 24 Hour Endurance Run along Lake Erie, in Cleveland. The race on May 5 and 6 will serve as the USATF 24-hour national championship.