Hehir and Hall Win in the Desert; D’Amato Smashes PR, Takes Second

by Clay Shaw

CHANDLER, AZ, DECEMBER 20, 2020—-Martin Hehir, a medical student in Philadelphia, ran almost exact splits to win The Marathon Project in Chandler, AZ with a two-and-a-half minute personal best of 2:08:59.  Pacemakers Mason Ferlic and Frank Lara took a large pack through halfway in 1:04:27. Hehir’s splits were 1:04:29/1:04:30, nearly spot on. By 30K the pack was down to eleven, and gradually runners began to drop off the pace, leaving Hehir in front by ten seconds.  Hehir said on the broadcast interview that he “started to fall apart in the last couple miles, but I was able to hold it together just enough.”  Hehir now has the seventh (7th) fastest USA time.

Noah Droddy finished second in 2:09:09, with a PB.  Droddy seemed to be in the chase, but the gap just maintained, never closing.  Droddy did “blow chow” upon finishing, on national TV. Droddy is now #9 on the USA All-Time List. Colin Bennie, who was Hehir’s teammate at Syracuse and now lives in Charlottesville, VA, took third in 2:09:39, a personal best. Scott Fauble of Flagstaff, AZ was fourth in 2:09:42.  Ian Butler of Boulder was fifth in 2:09:45, another PB. Scott Smith of Flagstaff, AZ was sixth in 2:09:45, a PB. Mick Iacofano of the Idaho Distance Project, had a PB of 2:09:55 to place seventh. Seven USA men ran under 2:10 in the desert. Benjamin Preisner of Canada had a great 2:10:17 debut to finish eighth.

Sara Hall was coming off her epic Buckingham Palace charge in the London Marathon where she took second in an awesome display of heart and fortitude.  Hall now had her eyes on the 2:19:36 AR set in London by Deena Kastor 14 years ago.  She had four pacers; one was Pennsylvania’s Darryl Brown of Exton. She was joined by Kellyn Taylor through the first half in 1:09:38 and on pace to break the record. Shortly after the halfway point Taylor began to fall back. Hall pushed on with the pacers and began to slow just slightly, but holding her own and pushing hard. She would lose over a minute in the second half, but would set a big PB and become #2 All-Time with a winning time of 2:20:32. Hall said, “It was a tough race.  I wanted to run a bit faster than that, but it’s a good PR.”

As Taylor was hurting, Keira D’Amato of Midlothian, VA was making up ground.  At 35K Taylor was up nine seconds on D’Amato.  By 40K D’Amato took over second place and finished with a massive personal best of 2:22:56. D’Amato’s splits were 1:11:40/1:11:16, a negative split. Taylor took third in 2:25:22 and Emma Bates of Idaho took fourth in 2:25:40, a PB.  D’Amato, Bates, and Steph Bruce were running together for much of the first half of the race, but Bruce dropped out at 28km with plantar fasciitis issues.  (Editor’s note:  It Hurts!!)

Natasha Wodak of Vancouver, BC, Canada got the Olympic standard and a likely spot on Canada’s Olympic Team with a PB of 2:26:19 to place fifth. Wodak is now #2 on Canada’s All-Time list. Andrea Ramirez of Mexico, finished sixth with her personal best of 2:26:34, and will likely earn a spot on Mexico’s Olympic Team. Paige Stoner of the Reebok Boston TC debuted at 2:28:43 to finish seventh. Ursula Sanchez of Mexico joined Ramirez with the Olympic Marathon standard, running 2:29:11 to place eighth with a personal best.  Kudos to Beverly Ramos on her 2:33:09 Puerto Rico National Record.

40 men and 33 women finished The Marathon Project, which was organized by Ben Rosario, Josh Cox, and Matt Helbig. Congratulations to all three on their love of the sport – staging this successful event despite the pandemic, with mindful precautions and safety. The race was staged on a 4.3-mile loop course on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

Top Women

  1. 2:20:32 Sara Hall AZ
  2. 2:22:56 Keira D’Amato VA
  3. 2:25:22 Kellyn Taylor AZ
  4. 2:25:40 Emma Bates ID
  5. 2:26:19 Natasha Wodak CAN
  6. 2:26:34 Andrea Ramirez MEX
  7. 2:28:43 Paige Stoner MA
  8. 2:29: 11 Ursula Sanchez MEX
  9. 2:29:41 Sarah Inglis GBR
  10. 2:29:50 Bria Wetsch CO
  11. 2:29:58 Julia Kohnen AZ
  12. 2:29:59 Samantha Roecker PA
  13. 2:30:38 Dakotah Lindwurm MN
  14. 2:30:41 Alla Gray CO
  15. 2:32:18 Brenda Flores MEX

Top Men

  1. 2:08:59 Martin Hehir PA
  2. 2:09:09 Noah Droddy IN
  3. 2:09:39 Colin Bennie VA
  4. 2:09:42 Scott Fauble AZ
  5. 2:09:45 Ian Butler CO
  6. 2:09:46 Scott Smith AZ
  7. 2:09:55 Mick Iacofano ID
  8. 2:10:17 Benjamin Preisner CAN
  9. 2:11:05 Nate Martin MI
  10. 2:11:18 CJ Albertson CA
  11. 2:11:20 Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse FRA
  12. 2:11:22 Colin Mickow IL
  13. 2:11:38 Reid Buchanan CA
  14. 2:12:02 Kevin Lewis MN
  15. 2:12:15 Cam Levins CAN
Martin Hehir of Philadelphia wins The Marathon Project in Chandler, Arizona in 2:08:59. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Martin Hehir wins The Marathon Project in 2:08:59. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Sara Hall reaches the finish in 2:20:32, and now ranks #2 USA women’s marathoner of all-time. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Sara Hall gave the USA record a serious try, and she did get the second fastest USA women’s marathon with a PB of 2:20:32. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Ryan and Sara Hall enjoy a moment after The Marathon Project. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Keira D’Amato of Midlothian, VA has a massive PR with a solid negative split, and a superbly run race to place second in 2:22:56. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Keira D’Amato places second in 2:22:56. She now ranks #7 on the USA all-time list. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Noah Droddy runs a PB of 2:09:09 to place second behind Martin Hehir. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Noah Droddy places second in The Marathon Project. Droddy is 30 seconds ahead of a pack of five in the background, all breaking 2:10. TV needs to keep the cameras on the finish stretch a bit longer. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)
Blowin’ Chow ! You know you gave your all, Noah Droddy. (Photo courtesy of @TaFphoto)

Categories: Race Coverage

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