Marathon runners typically prefer cooler temperatures, and usually feel warm weather like that what greeted them Saturday morning leads to higher finishing times.
One runner who enjoys a warm climate is Samson Kipchurcher, a Kenyan native who won his second Baton Rouge Beach Marathon in five years with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes and 19 seconds.
The race capped a hectic week for Kipchurcher, who had a tooth pulled Tuesday and was unsure if he would compete.
“So many things happened this week,” said the 35-year-old Kipchurcher, a former college competitor at South Alabama. “I had (the tooth) pulled so I asked my doctor, ‘Can I do it?’ and he said he wasn’t sure.
“When you get on antibiotics, it can mess up your stomach and make you drowsy. This week I’ve just been laying down, but its amazing. I came out today and said I want to do it, and I did so.”
In 2010, Kipchurcher ran a then-course record 2:34.57. That mark was bettered a year later by Matt Manning, who posted a winning mark of 2:31.37.
Kipchurcher is training for next month’s Houston Marathon and said his 2:45 time was his aim.
“It is hot. It is humid, but that’s good for me,” Kipchurcher said.
Jennifer Novak, 42, won the women’s overall with a time of 3:18.23. Early reports from the last third of the race were that two women were battling for the lead, but Novak finished six minutes ahead of second-place runner Antigone Pierson.
Still, when Novak was greeted at the finish line she immediately asked if she had finished first.
“I was in second place for the first (loop around the course), and I was first place the whole second half,” Novak said.
“It wasn’t a personal record, but it’s a hot day. I’m happy with it.”
The half marathon was won by a pair of Baton Rouge athletes, Adam MacDowell and Allie Stone.
The 35-year-old MacDowell won the men’s competition with a time of 1:11.56.
Stone, a 19-year-old student at Southeastern Louisiana, plugged in her earphones and was off and running in posting the top women’s time of 1:33.40.
“I was just feeling it today,” said Stone, who added she likes to sing while running. “It takes your mind off of running. You’ve got to have fun. Its like a big party.”
Stone, a former athlete at St. Michael the Archangel High School, said she was more pleased with the time she ran than placing first. Like all race finishers of both genders, she was greeted by women’s marathon advocate Kathrine Switzer.
Switzer made an impression on many runners including Stone and Nicole Decker, a member of Baton Rouge’s Varsity Sports running club. Decker ran the half marathon in a time of 2:19.28 after Switzer joined a large group of Varsity Sports athletes for a prerace prayer.
“It was unbelievable,” said Decker. “(Switzer) is such an icon for women and running. What she started has had such a huge ripple effect. With everything she’s accomplished since then, she’s a legend.”