Like many of those who crossed the finish line on Sunday, Youssef Zirari didn’t complete the Vancouver USA Marathon quite as quickly as he planned.
But the Vancouver resident was still plenty fast.
Despite a side ache for a mile early in the race and a blister on the bottom of his left foot that worsened over the second half of the course, the 27-year-old native of Morocco won the race for the second year in a row.
Zirari finished the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 35 minutes, and 18 seconds. That was about a minute slower than his winning time in 2012, and slower than his target of 2:30.
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He estimated the side ache and blister slowed him by at least seven minutes, so Zirari said he was pleased with his effort.
“I feel well, and positive about my result,” Zirari said after getting aid for his blister at the medical tent. “I emptied my head and I pushed it.”
Zirari finished more than seven minutes ahead of runner-up Bret Kimple. The 44-year-old Portlander’s second-place time was 2:42:31.
Hans Aabye of Merritt, British Columbia, kept Zirari in sight until about the 14-mile mark. At that point he realized it wasn’t his day to chase the champion. Still, the 35-year-old Aabye was happy he had enough left to surge into third place as he completed his 23rd marathon.
“I wanted to get under 2:40. I didn’t quite get my goal. I had a tough time the last half,” Aabye said.
Jennifer Enge of Lake Oswego, Ore., met her goal, finishing in under three hours with a time of 2:58:54. That the 41-year-old was the first woman finisher was nice, too.
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“Winning is not something I can control. It just depends who else shows up,” Enge said. “That was a nice bonus. It feels good to win. But I’m really thrilled with the time.”
It was her second marathon victory. A mother of four, ages 3 to 8, Enge won the 2009 Catalina Island trail marathon in California. This was her 23rd marathon.
She said this Vancouver USA Marathon was her big event for 2013. She ran three half-marathons and the Eugene Marathon in the spring as training for this, she said.
“It’s a beautiful course,” Enge said. “I definitely did not expect the hills to be so challenging at the end. I thought it would be flatter, so that was an unwelcome surprise.”
Those hills over the second half of the course also caught female runner-up Sierra Brisky by surprise.
A former runner for Western Washington University, the Bellingham-area woman just missed her goal of finishing in under three hours. But her time of 3:00:52 was impressive for her first marathon.
Brisky, 23, said she wasn’t chasing the record of 2:54:08 that friend Lauren Breihof -- another Western Washington runner and Mountain View High graduate -- set in winning the inaugural Vancouver USA Marathon two years ago. Brisky said she ran the flat first half of the race too quickly and her pace slowed when the hills arrived.
“It was a nice course. It was pretty,” Brisky said, indicating she will probably return in 2014. “I liked it. Next time I won’t go out so fast.”
An estimated 800 runners started the marathon, and another 1,500 or so ran or walked the 13.1-mile half-marathon. Those participation numbers returned to 2011 levels after a slight decline for the 2012 edition.
Ryan Miles of Vancouver won the half-marathon in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 15 seconds. The 37-year-old improved on his 2012 time, and as a bonus reached the finish line first.
“It’s Father’s Day and I like to run. I get to come out and do something I enjoy on Father’s Day,” Miles said, explaining why this is the only half-marathon he has entered.
Miles said he felt strong throughout the run.
“I was a little afraid someone was going to pass me. I’m not used to (leading the race),” Miles said. “But I’m happy.”
Marathon top 10 men
1, Youssef Zirari, 27, Vancouver, 2:35:18. 2, Bret Kimple, 44, Portland, 2:42:31. 3, Hans Aabye, 35, Merritt, B.C., 2:43:48. 4, Dan Lenski, 31, Vancouver, 2:43:54. 5, Tony Daguanno, 36, Vancouver, 2:44:10. 6, Jeff Smith, 39, Lake Oswego, Ore., 2:46:19. 7, Ben Chase, Vancouver, 2:47:50. 8, Peter Bromka, 31, Portland, 2:47:51. 9, Nick Fedoroff, 35, Portland, 2:52:24. 10, Micah Rice, 36, Vancouver, 2:55:07.
Marathon top 10 women
1, Jennifer Enge, 41, Lake Oswego, Ore., 2:58:54. 2, Sierra Brisky, 23, Acme, Wash., 3:00:52. 3, Elizabeth Cooper, 25, Oklahoma City, 3:09:36. 4, Liz Anjos, 27, Portland, 3:13:37. 5, Sheena Dahlke, 30, Eugene, Ore., 3:13:40. 6, Jacqueline Countryman, 49, Milwaukie, Ore., 2:24:24. 7, Amanda Haskin, 39, Puyallup, 3:25:15. 8, Tyler Kaltenbach, 33, Portland, 3:25:46. 9, Rita Flores, Vancouver, 3:31:26. 10, Allison Fiorini, 30, Allentown, Pa., 3:31:52.
Half Marathon top-10 overall men
1, Ryan Miles, 37, Vancouver, 1:21:15; 2, Will Justice, 29, Portland, 1:22:18; 3, Jim Weeks, 49, Portland, 1:22:56; 4, Arthur Dunn, 53, Tacoma, 1:25:02; 5, Douglas Denney, 48, West Linn, Ore., 1:25:46; 6, Neil Green-Clancey, 33, Aloha, Ore., 1:26:04; 7, Kirk Sall, 45, Redmond, 1:26:21; 8, Jeremiah Romano, 30, Spokane, 1:28:17; 9, Lee Parks, 30, Portland, 1:28:51; 10, Johnny Ye, 17, Portland, 1:29:02.
Half Marathon top-10 overall women
1, Theresa Hailey, 24, Portland, 1:23:31; 2, Megha Doshi, 31, Portland, 1:28:36; 3, Brenda Blancas, 40, Montesano, 1:30:24; 4, Melissa Cox, 29, Portland, 1:30:59; 5, Tami Wright, 35, Vancouver, 1:32:39; 6, Amanda Moor, 34, Battle Ground, 1:36:16; 7, Delilah Moore, 33, Portland, 1:37:00; 8, Erica Koranda, 34, Camas, 1:38:12; 9, Danielle Mott, 28, Vancouver, 1:38:16; 10, Merisa Titlow, 34, New York, 1:38:40.
NOTE: Complete results will be posted on the Vancouver USA Marathon website.