The sudden drop in temperature and a steady headwind didn’t make things any easier for the 407 runners that were competing in the 2012 West Texas Crossroads Marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K and fun run on Saturday.
Austin’s Iram Leon made things even tougher on himself.
The Odessa native and brain cancer survivor finished five seconds behind Del Rio’s Vernon T. Cox, who was first overall in the 13.1-mile half marathon, and Leon did it while pushing 5-year old daughter Kiana in a stroller the entire distance.
“It was a lot tougher than I realized,” Leon said. “I’ve never done a race pushing a stroller, and the wind just caught right into that thing. It definitely was a whole other factor.
“Kiana would cheer me on every once in a while. She was sitting there going, ‘faster Daddy, faster.’ She had a good time. She slept for the first half hour, but when she was awake, she was heckling me the whole way.”
After crossing the finish line, Leon went back and crossed again later with his mother, Martha, who was competing in her first ever half marathon.
Leon encouraged and helped Martha build up to the distance; she did it just to be with her son and granddaughter.
“The main reason I wanted to do it pushing a stroller was so all three generations could do the same one,” Leon explained. “I appreciate the fact that they let me do it. But I’ll probably be questioning that decision by the way I’ll feel tomorrow,” he said laughing as he rubbed his calf.
Leon has competed in several events over the last three years, even putting off brain cancer surgery to run a marathon.
In April, he ran the Boston Marathon in 3:53:28. Leon won the cancer survivor division of the Livestrong Marathon in Austin with a time of 3:16:25 in February.
Saturday’s time of 1:27:22 was his second fastest ever in the half marathon.
In November, Leon will be two years cancer free.
Page Whalen, a 2007 Odessa High graduate that now works and teaches in College Station, was the top female finisher in the full distance marathon; Connor Brock from Midland was the top overall finisher.
Whalen just missed qualifying for her second-straight Boston Marathon, crossing the tape at 3:47:29. She needed to come in at 3:35 or under to make the prestigious race.
“It was a good time and I’m happy with it,” Whalen said. “I would have liked to qualify again, but I just wanted to come back and run in my hometown. I’m going to continue to train and hopefully reach that qualifying time again.”
Brock, who ran cross country at Midland Trinity, is just transitioning to the marathon distance, and has been running 60 miles per week in preparation.
“Just trying to make a life goal out of this, I think it would be fun,” Brock said.
He said cramping was a factor about the 22-mile mark, and was more obvious about 30 yards from the finish line in Ratliff Stadium.
Despite not hitting the needed 3:05 time for Boston, Brock was pleased with winning the race, especially for being his first marathon.
“It was a good run. I like it,” Brock said. “It’s definitely, definitely hard, but you have to learn the hard way and try again the next time.”
For both Brock and Whalen, that will be in December at the Bryan/College Station Marathon when they’ll try to qualify for Boston again.
>> 2012 West Texas Crossroads Marathon
Top 10 Individuals
1. Connor Brock, Midland, 3:10:49; 2. Christian Lambert, San Antonio, 3:12:24; 3. Dan Greenberg, Houston, 3:12:50; 4. Victor Cordova, Irving, 3:17:04; 5. Keith Kimbrough, Midland, 3:18:02; 6. Buck Wheat, Andrews, 3:34:43; 7. Rey Palma, Odessa, 3:44:39; 8. McCully Reid, Odessa, 3:44:51; 9. Grant Folkmann, Tomball, 3:53:39; 10. Shawn Dawsey, Midland, 3:56:25.
1. Page Whalen, College Station, 3:47:29; 2. Lori Wilson, Pflugerville, 3:49:27; 3. Courtney Laufer, Midland, 3:52:53; 4. Deidra Nelson, Midland, 4:08:19; 5. Rebecca Folkmann, Tomball, 4:11:32; 6. Ana Mata, Odessa, 4:23:59; 7. Juanita Bowling, Universal City, 4:27:06; 8. Parvaneh Moayedi, San Antonio, 4:30:03; 9. Kaitlin Robinson, Grapevine, 4:33:31; 10. Lori Nolte, Yuma, AZ, 4:36:30.
Top 3 by Division
1. Courtney Laufer, Midland, 3:53:53; 2. Rebecca Folkmann, Tomball, 4:11:32; 3. Kaitlin Robinson, Grapevine, 4:33:31.
1. Lori Wilson, Pflugerville, 3:49:27; 2. Juanita Bowling, Universal City, 4:27:06; 3. Yesenia Emery, Odessa, 4:46:07..
1. Deidra Nelson, Midland, 4:08:19; 2. Ana Mata, Odessa, 4:23:59; 3. Parvaneh Moayedi, San Antonio, 4:30:03..
1. Maria Barron, Arlington, 4:39:10.
1. Victor Cordova, Irving, 3:17:04; 2. Keith Kimbrough, Midland, 3:18:02; 3. Rey Palma, Odessa, 3:44:39.
1. Christian Lambert, San Antonio, 3:12:24; 2. Dan Greenberg, Houston, 3:12:50; 3. Grant Folkmann, Tomball, 3:53:39.
1. Buck Wheat, Andrews, 3:34:43; 2. Mark Haley, Fort Worth, 4:33:46; 3. Steven Holehan, New Braunfels, 4:39:40.
1. Michael Baker, Fort Worth, 4:08:31; 2. Don Koontz, Conroe, 4:16:07; 3. David Johnson, Odessa, 4:18:10.
1. Wilfried Crauwels, Belgium, 5:04:00.