Grandma’s marathon: Patience pays off for Kenya’s Rotich in the men’s marathon

“I knew I was going to fade towards the end, so I tried to break down as many people as possible to make as small a group as possible,” Albertson said. “I wanted to go faster miles to hurt people. so that they will do it if I fall apart in the end. “

The plan worked for the most part, leaving the rest of the elite men’s runners in the dust at halftime on Saturday. However, there was an exception with the 35-year-old Milton Rotich from Kenya.

In his second grandma marathon, Rotich kept a constant pace from start to finish and won the 45th run in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 4 seconds. He said it was his first marathon win in seven years after finishing second in the Philadelphia Marathon and fourth in the Los Angeles Marathon, both in 2019.

“I’m surprised, I feel great,” said Rotich after crossing the finish line. In 2017 he was sixth at Oma in 2:16:16 and in 2018 fifth in the Garry Bjorklund half marathon. “I ran that in 2017 and I know a lot about the route. You don’t have to rush. The first part is quick, but you have to take it easy for the last part. “

Albertson said he tried to use the downhill sections of Saturday’s race to break free of Rotich by doing a 4:45 mile at one point. The waves proved successful until they started running uphill again. Rotich was able to catch up with Albertson again.

CJ Albertson (left) and Milton Rotich will go head-to-head at halftime in Grandma’s marathon on Saturday, June 19, 2021.  Rotich won the race, Albertson finished second.  (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

CJ Albertson (left) and Milton Rotich will go head-to-head at halftime in Grandma’s marathon on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Rotich won the race, Albertson came second. (Steve Kuchera / [email protected])

Rotich said he knew he could catch up with Albertson on these departures.

“I tried to be constant, to keep a certain pace and to wait for my time,” said Rotich. “My strategy was to be patient.”

Constancy and patience were indeed crucial for Rotich on Saturday, as Albertson admitted that Rotich didn’t necessarily make it forward. Instead, the Californian started slowing down late.

Rotich and Albertson were part of a group of three with Tyler Jermann halfway through the race and reached the 21.1-mile mark at around 1:06:00. They had two other racers – Mohammed Bati and Will Norris – 42-43 seconds back.

Jermann, 28, from St. Paul, was fourth in 2:16:42 as the best Minnesotan in the men. Norris, 26, from Charlottesville, Virginia, finished fifth in 2:17:04, while Bati, 21, from Ethiopia, disappeared from the top 10.

Joseph Whelan, 30, of Webster, New York, finished third in 2:16:25 after finishing sixth at half time, 1:15:00 behind the pace.

Defending champion Boniface Kongin, who won the last Grandma run on the North Shore in 2019 in 2:11:56, started on Saturday but did not finish the race.


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