A Grandma’s Marathon men’s course record was all but assured Saturday morning along the North Shore. Course record holder Dick Beardsley said it was a certainty. Not so fast.
The weather: 55 degrees, east wind, overcast, some fog.
The menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s field: one of the best assembled in the 37 years of GrandmaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Marathon.
A course record was all but assured Saturday morning along the North Shore.
Course record holder Dick Beardsley said it was a certainty.
Not so fast.
Overwhelming favorite Bazu Worku of Ethiopia said he never felt comfortable on a cold summer day in Duluth, yet was able to break away from a large pack over the final seven miles to win in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 14 seconds. It was the fourth-fastest time in race history but still 97 seconds from the all-time mark of 2:09:37 set on a nearly identical weather day in 1981.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“From the beginning it was hard. The weather made a difference,Ã¢â‚¬Â Worku, in his first trip to Duluth, said through interpreter Ahmed Kemal, an Ethiopian attending St. Scholastica. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was very cold and my body was just shivering. Even while warming up (at the start) I was cold.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Worku won $12,000, including $2,000 for running sub-2:12. Former Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon winner Ernest Kebenei of Kenya was second in 2:11:46 for $9,500 and 19-year-old Kenyan Eliud Ngetich was third in 2:12:00 for $6,500.