(Steven Lane/The Columbian)
They used to excel in Clark County’s cross country races and long-distance events in track and field as high school athletes.
Now in college, Cody Barton and Lauren Breihof returned home to compete in the inaugural Vancouver USA Marathon.
Looks like they still run this place.
Barton, a 21-year-old from Ridgefield, won his first marathon at Vancouver’s first marathon, finishing the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 37 minutes 40 seconds (unofficially).
Breihof, a 22-year-old who graduated from Mountain View in 2007, won her second marathon title in three tries, adding Vancouver to her 2009 Seattle Marathon victory. She set a personal record Sunday with a time of 2:54:40 (unofficially).
Both runners surprised themselves with their performances, but for different reasons.
“I was really unprepared for this,” Barton said despite the fact that he won by several minutes. “I wasn’t going to run this, but my mom razzed me into it.
“This is a different world.”
Barton red-shirted this past season at Eastern Washington University, where he is a steeplechase runner. With extra time on his hands, and at his mom’s urging, he decided to give the marathon a shot.
Even in victory, he still was not so sure it was the smartest thing to do.
“I wanted to do terrible things to myself in the last seven, eight miles,” Barton said. “I wanted to throw myself into the Columbia River.”
His sense of humor kept him going throughout the race. He did not get the last names of the bicycle riders who were pacing him, showing him the course, but “Paul and Angie” were credited with keeping up his spirits.
“When I really needed it, those last couple of miles when I was hurting really bad, they were there for me,” Barton said.
That was after Barton kept accusing them of leading him off the course.
“I would ask them, ‘Are you sure you’re going the right path?’ I didn’t expect a Heartbreak Hill on Mile 19 on this course,” Barton said. “It totally wrecked me.”
Not really, according to second-place finisher Dan Lenski of Portland.
“He was so far away,” Lenski said. “I didn’t see him after Mile 5.”
Barton said he expects to be competing in the outdoor track season next spring for Eastern Washington so he likely will not be able to defend his title. But if someone breaks his mark, he said he will make sure he returns one day.
He also promised to train properly for a marathon, unlike this time.
“Too much whiskey and beautiful women leading up to the race,” he said with a grin.
Breihof, who has one more season of cross country eligibility at Western Washington University, was diagnosed with a sinus infection last week and was not sure if she was going to run Sunday.
Slowly, she started feeling better, and by race day, she was ready.
“I think the rain helped,” she said of the drizzle/mist early in the morning.
Breihof and Lori Buratto of Spokane Valley were close through much of the race.
“She was trailing right behind me at least through (Mile) 16. I tried not to look back,” Breihof said.
Breihof broke away in the late stages of the race to set her best time in a marathon.
“I think it being flatter than Seattle helped,” Breihof said of the course.
The time is the time, and the title is the title.
“When you cross that finish line, you know that you made it and you know you worked hard,” Breihof said. “It feels great. It’s really exciting.”
Both Barton and Breihof will forever be able to say they were the first champions of the first Vancouver USA Marathon.
“I thought it was awesome,” Breihof said of Vancouver’s new point on the long-distance running map. “I loved the course a lot. The second half was more exciting. There were more people and more to look at. It was beautiful.”
Barton, who ran for the Spudders in high school and graduated in 2008, said the victory and the venue are special to him.
“I’m from Ridgefield, but Vancouver is my hometown, too,” Barton said. “I worked at Farmers Market since I was 10 years old.”
The Market was open Sunday, just a few hundred feet from the finish line.
TOP 10 FINISHERS
Vancouver USA Marathon
1, Cody Barton, Ridgefield, 2:37:39
2, Daniel Lenski, Portland, 2:46:27
3, John Lafayette, Seattle, 2:46:39
4, Matt Krier, Shoreline, 2:49:09
5, Michael Martin, New Freedom, Pa., 2:50:03
6, Chad Muszynski, Hillsboro, 2:50:06
7, Sergio Pio, Penticton, B.C., 2:51:03
8, Raymond Lampard, West Perth, Australia, 2:51:09
9, Kyle Roozen, Milwaukie, Ore., 2:52:17
10, Ben Williams, Seattle, 2:53:04
1, Lauren Breihof, Vancouver, 2:54:08 (11th overall)
2, Lori Buratto, Spokane Valley, 2:59:31
3, TJ Ford, Portland, 3:01:38
4, Susan Reed, Sherwood, Ore., 3:05:17
5, Elena Parker, Forest Grove, Ore., 3:06:21
6, Wendy Hagle, Lake Tapps, 3:07:50
7, Stephanie Musho, Portland, 3:08:00
8, Bonnie McReynolds, Olympia, 3:12:56
9, Alison Weaver, Portland, 3:18:28
10, Jodi Irey, Kent, 3:19:11
Vancouver USA Half-Marathon
1, Seamus Nally, Corvallis, 1:14:43
2, Mark Bloudek, Vancouver, 1:18:17
3, Alex Gay, Portland, 1:18:27
4, Jim Weeks, Portland, 1:20:40
5, Jeffrey Liebert, Portland, 1:22:23
6, Troy Banker, Portland, 1:22:28
7, Tyler Shirley, Vancouver, 1:22:38
8, Mark Boydston, Vancouver, 1:22:40
9, Arthur Dunn, Tacoma, 1:22:41
10, James McCollum, Vancouver, 1:22:46
1, Stephanie Snyder, Salem, 1:24:45 (13th overall)
2, Tonya Lutz, Salem, 1:24:49
3, Meaghan Gregory, Corvallis, 1:26:08
4, Korina Pongracz, Portland, 1:26:19
5, Katarina Mueller, Vancouver, 1:30:45
6, Neoma Palmer, Camas, 1:32:45
7, Nick Maudlin, Vancouver, 1:32:54
8, Kristine Calhoun, Portland, 1:35:48
9, Liz Hendrie, Wilsonville, Ore., 1:37:23
10, Emily Shelton, Newberg, Ore., 1:38:56
NOTE: Complete results from the marathon and half-marathon can be found at www.racecenter.com.