This year, Brian Maher of Issaquah kept his hat — and the lead — for his first North Olympic Discovery Marathon victory on Sunday.
Maher was among 336 finishers of the full 26.2-mile road race and more than 1,700 participants overall on race weekend, June 1-2.
In 2012, Maher said he was near downtown Sequim when a bird swooped in and took his racing hat right off his head. This time around, the only thing taking off was Maher, who outpaced runner-up James Fishburn of Seattle by nearly five minutes.
“I definitely upped my miles (this year),” Maher said, to about 50 miles per week.
“I was just trying to shoot for a PR (personal record) for me.”
He nearly did it, finishing the NODM course in 2:53.19 — quite close to the 2:52:59 finish Maher had at the tragedy-filled Boston Marathon in April. “The ending,” Maher lamented, “wasn’t the best experience.”
It was the first marathon win for the 33-year-old Maher.
In the women’s division, 30-year-old Sarah Getty of Des Moines (Wash.) took top honors, breaking from the pack early and sustaining a clear lead for a 3:03:26 — a new women’s NODM record.
Runner-up Angie LaMance of Barrington, Ill., was more than 10 minutes behind.
Getty finished fourth overall. “I was trying to get under three (hours),” Getty said, moments after her finish.
“I like this course. There’s a constant change of scenery. A few sections are straight. It’s the uphill (near Morse Creek) that mows you down.”
For Getty, Sunday’s race was her seventh marathon overall and second this year; she finished 12th in the female division at the Eugene Marathon in April with a 2:56:17 finish.
Joshua Klimek of Olympia took the half marathon title with a 1:11:45 finish, about six-and-a-half minutes ahead of Port Angeles’ Kyle Tupper. Becky Braman of Bremerton won the women’s division in 1:27:19, good for 12th overall.
Tim VanRiper of Sekiu won the Olympic Medical Center 10K in 43:26 while Chris Callendar of Port Angeles won the 5K (17:25).
The marathon and half-marathon saw 1,350 finishers and the OMC races had about 340 participants.