Marathon runners take wet weather in stride

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on December 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 1:04 PM

DALLAS — Cold and wet conditions greeted thousands of runners for the 42nd annual Metro PCS Dallas White Rock Marathon at Fair Park Sunday.

A steady rain and temperatures in the 40s added an extra challenge for the 25,000 runners expected, a record number for the marathon.

“The rain is what really slows you down,” said Scott MacPherson, winner of the 13.1-mile half marathon. The Plano native expressed disappointment at his time of one hour and seven minutes.“It makes your clothes heavy, makes your shoes slippery.”

Sonya Correa won the women’s half-marathon race with an unofficial time of 1:21:07.

Kenyan runner John Itati, 37, won the marathon. He finished the 26.2-mile course with a time of 2:17:21, overtaking the defending champion James Kirwa.

Natyla Sergeyeva, 27, of Russia came in first among the women, running the marathon with a time of 2:35:18.

The thousands of runners tried to take the weather in stride.

“Rain made it a little challenging,” acknowledged Savannah Summers, 18, after finishing her first half-marathon. “After a while, you don’t even care about jumping in puddles.”

Volunteers handed out gloves and ponchos to runners before the race, and organizers had medics stationed along the course.

“Lightning is the only reason we would cancel the race,” said marathon chairman Phil Baker. “Cold weather and rain is not a problem.”

Courtney Washer, 31, braved the rain to peddle the course in a modified wheelchair. She suffers from a spinal cord birth defect. Although she’s competed in marathons for years, she admits the weather gave her second thoughts.

“I decided I wanted to go ahead and at least try it,” the Sherman woman said. “It’s going to be a big challenge; slick roads are going to be more of a challenge than anything.”

Despite the challenge, she completed the race in 3 hours and 45 minutes.

“You want to show people that you can,” she said.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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