Practice and familiarity with a course can be of benefit when running a marathon.
Apparently, however, it's not a necessity.
That was proven Sunday morning when the York Marathon/Half-Marathon races were held.
Baltimore's Jaci Schuerholz didn’t even sign up to run in the event, sponsored by the YMCA of York and York County, until the day before.
Jonathan Schloth, of Lynbrook, New York, is an avid runner, but never ran a full marathon before Sunday.
So, of course, it turned out that both Schloth and Schuerholz dominated their respective men’s and women’s fields en route to the top finishes in the event that started and ended in downtown York.
Schuerholz, who was cheered on by her boyfriend and two young sons, barely missed breaking the course record with a time of 3 hours, 10 minutes and 13 seconds. The Charm City runner finished just under two minutes shy of Elizabeth Swierbinski’s record that was set last year (3:08.10).
Men's winner: Schloth’s triumph was all the more remarkable in that he broke Justin Krebs’ course record of 2:40.49. The recent George Mason University graduate completed the course in just 2:32.28.
“I went out how I wanted to,” Schloth said. “I was hitting 5:50s and 6:00s (per mile) and then in the middle miles I was hitting between 5:20 and 5:40, which is where I wanted to be consistently.”
When asked if this was his best-ever finish in a marathon, Schloth gave an unexpected answer.
“This was my first one ever,” he said with a smile. “I just finished my running career in college and George Mason University. It’s kind of a tradition there that you finish your season and then go run a marathon. I was just trying to break 2:40 and I just felt real good.”
Schloth’s time earned was good enough to earn an invite to the Boston Marathon next April, but given Sunday’s result the GMU standout will likely be partaking in more marathons in his future.
“I think there will be some more marathons in my future,” he said.
Women's winner: Schuerholz, 34, is no stranger to the running circuit. Sunday’s event was the 18th full marathon that she’s run, with many more on the horizon.
“Today was actually more of a training run,” she said. “I plan on running Grandma’s Marathon (in Minnesota) in June. And I just came off running Boston, which I ran in a 2:52, which was significantly faster than today.”
Despite all of the running that she’s been doing recently, Schuerholz finished her run strong.
“Yeah, I feel really good,” she said. “My goal was 2:45. I never ran this course before and I was kind of peer-pressured into it because my next one is just five weeks away.”
Top area finishers: The top area finisher on the men’s side was Matthew Rutt of Camp Hill. The 28-year old finished fourth overall with a time of 2:51.43 seconds. Jacob Montgomery of York was right behind him in fifth , while Alec Wetcher of York was seventh.
Dover’s Colleen Steffenhagen-Roberts finished behind Schuerholz on the women’s side with a time of 3:19.49. Trinity Smyth of York placed eighth with a time of 3:34.17.
Jonathan Buytenhuys won the men’s division in the half-marathon while Brenda Hodge topped the women’s field. Buytenhuys, of Seven Valleys, finished in 1:24.10, while York's Hodge crossed the line in 1:29.58. Hanover's Dwayne Smith was second in 1:25.39 and Felton's Benjamin Abeles was third in 1:25.52.
A total of 273 runners competed in the marathon, while 240 competed in the half marathon.
For complete results of both races, click here.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.