Zimmerman Leaves her Mark at 2022 Philadelphia Marathon

By David Block for Runner’s Gazette

On the weekend of November 19-20, Philadelphia hosted the AACR Philadelphia Marathon, the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, and the Rothman Institute 8K.

A key standout was Amber Zimmerman of Philadelphia. She won the marathon with a 2:31:35 clocking. She earned $10,000 for being the first woman finisher and an additional $1,000.00 for being the first female Philadelphia resident.

Asked how she planned to spend her winnings, Zimmerman said, “The first thing I’m going to do is buy a treat for my dog, Donut.” Donut is a six-year-old blue heeler.

“I promised him I’d buy him something if I won the marathon,” said Zimmerman.

Throughout the marathon, Zimmerman had the lead, but she did not realize how close her competition was. Finishing second was Maegan Krifchin, of Long Island, NY, 2:31:41. She trailed Zimmerman by only six seconds, collecting the second-place prize of $7,500.00.

This was Zimmerman’s fourth marathon. Her finishing time is her new personal best. Her previous best time was 2:36:26, which she posted this past January at the Houston Marathon. Although her Houston time was four minutes and fifty-one seconds slower, it was still fast enough for her to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Zimmerman attributed her improvement to running 100 miles a week or more on a consistent basis. “That definitely helped,” said Zimmerman. Another factor is that now she does not take days off from running. She believes that days off can lead to injuries. This regimen works for her. She did not advise anyone to follow it.

“I run 14 to 15 miles a day,” said Zimmerman. Some days I run slowly and some days I run faster and harder.”

Because some of the Philadelphia Marathon course covered Fairmount Park, Zimmerman did many of her training runs there. She knew exactly at what mile spots the hills were located.

Zimmerman also liked that the marathon was a hometown race. That meant no commuting. She could walk right out her door and be at the starting line.

Another factor that helped Zimmerman maintain her lead was her positive attitude.

“My body was hurting quite a bit, but if I was hurting so was everybody else,” said Zimmerman. “I’m glad that I hung on because I was dying at the end.”

The marathon was not tough the whole way. “I felt really good the first half; there was a tail-wind going out,” said Zimmerman. “I was feeling better than I thought I would. The headwinds were tough, but I figured if I was hurting, then everyone was hurting. When I got to Manayunk, going uphill, this was not good anymore.”

Her friends and the spectators cheered for her and that helped keep her going.

In the marathon men’s field, Dominic Ondoro of Kenya easily won, posting 2:14:20. He collected $10,000.00. Finishing second by more than a minute was Gilmar Lopes, 2:15:41.

For the first 22 miles, Ondoro ran with a pack of runners, but as he neared the 23-mile mark on Kelly Drive, he felt strong and broke away. His 23-mile split was 1:58:07. After he hit 24 miles in 2:03:08, he led by nearly 100 yards. He still remained unchallenged at 25 miles. His time was 2:03:11. He looked over his shoulder and was confident about winning. After the race, he told the media that he flew from Kenya to Philadelphia just two days before the marathon. He planned to return to Kenya the day after the marathon. Asked why he did so much flying two days before the marathon and then the day after he said: “That’s what my manager wanted. Running is my job.”

Finishing first in the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon for a fourth straight year was James Ngandu of Kenya who clocked 1:03:45. He collected the winner’s purse of $5,000.00.

The first female half-marathon winner was Weynshet Ansa Weldetsadik who posted 1:10:19.

Susanna Sullivan of Reston, VA won the 8K for a second straight year. Last year she won with a 25:47 finish and this year she was seven seconds faster, 25:40. She collected the winner’s share, $1,500.00.

“It felt good and exciting to defend my title,” said Sullivan.

The first male 8K finisher was Zach Michon of Philadelphia who clocked 23:32. Last year, he finished second in the 8K, 23:38. “I had a chip on my shoulder,” said Michon. “I came back more prepared. More fit.”

David Block is a freelance journalist. He earned his Master’s Degree in Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia. More of David’s work: blindfilmmaker.com

Categories: Race Coverage

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