MOLINE — Nearly 4,600 runners celebrated the 21st anniversary of the TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon in a mass start at 7 a.m. Sunday in the John Deere Commons.
Blissfully cool weather greeted runners with temperatures in the mid-40s at start time. That was a welcome change from the past few years when hot and humid weather made it less-than-ideal for distance runners.
Kenya's Kiplangat Terer took advantage of what he called "perfect running conditions" to challenge his own course record.
Terer finished in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds, just missing by 21 ticks the mark he set in 2013's win (2:14:04). Terer took home the $3,000 top prize by pulling away late from countryman Lazarus Yego after the two ran together most of the 26.2 miles. Yego timed out at 2:15:10 to win $1,500.
Rounding out the top five were a trio of Ethiopian's — Tadesse Yae Dabi ($1,000 for third), Girma Bekele Gebre ($750 for fourth) and Hailemariam Atsebha Kahsay ($500 for fifth). The top three men's finishers also earned a time bonus for running under 2:22.
The women's winner of the $3,000 top prize was Joan Massah in 2:43:01. The Kenyan easily outdistanced Ethiopia's Bose Gemeda Assefa, the runner up by more than five minutes in 2:48:53. The other moneywinners were Ukranian Valentyna Poltavska (third), Ethiopia's Meseret Basa (fourth) and Michigan's Jessica Moskalewski (fifth). Only Massah earned a time bonus, too, for bettering 2:48.
In the Masters marathon, the $500 victors also included Poltavska (2:49:34). The QCM's 2005 women's open champ actually proved faster than the men's 40-plus winner, South Carolina's Orinthal Striggles (2:51:17).
The top local marathoners were Davenport's Jake Alexander (2:46:20) and Colona's Kimber Mundt (3:04:46). Both claimed $200 for their efforts.
Taking advantage of those temperatures to run a career-best time was the half-marathon's winner Brett Lustgarten. The 28-year-old Chicagoan warmed up for an Olympics Trial-qualifying bid at next month's Chicago Marathon by finishing in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 35 seconds.
Lustgarten passed Kenyan Elisha Kipruto (1:08:37) in the last mile for the biggest win of his career, which he called "rather average" at the University of Illinois from 2008-2012.
Lustgarten started the race at a modest pace, but steadily turned up the heat, quickening to a 5:05 clip per mile after the 10K mark to overcome a 30-second gap behind the lead pack at that point.
In the women's half marathon, the $500 victor was Colorado's Brittany Charboneau, who won easily in 1:16:01. Chicago's Kristin Johnson was the runner-up in 1:18:35.
Charboneau said Sunday's tour of the Mississippi Riverfront was a good gauge of what else she needs to do to prepare for the full distance at the world famous New York City Marathon in November.
The top local runners, Davenport's Ben Lloyd (1:10:52) and Bettendorf's Amy Kintner (1:27:34), each earned $100.
The day's first winners in the 5K finished within the first half hour.
The first runner to the tape was former United Township runner Jacob Varble. The Black Hawk College sophomore ran a time of 17 minutes and 23 seconds to outkick former Geneseo star Jordan Starkey (17:52) for his first win in eight road-races this year.
In the women's 5K, the champion was Tracy Demerath. The 36-year-old from Dubuque, Iowa, won easily in 20:14 over runner-up Renee McGinnis of North Liberty (22:12).
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Demarath participated in the QCM's half marathon the past two years, but used Sunday's 5K to prepare for a half marathon next month in Columbus, Ohio.
Varble's win confirmed his training the past year-and-a-half, as the 19-year-old continues working on his running post-high school, hoping to transfer to a four-year college next year and compete in cross country and track. BHC does not offer those sports. Sunday's time was a personal-record for Varble.
The bulk of the races at the annual event began today outside of the TaxSlayer Center in the downtown John Deere Commons of Moline.
Full (26.2 miles) and half (13.1 miles) marathons are mixed with a 5K and five-person relay today. The Rudy's Tacos Mile for Prostate Cancer and the Happy Joe's Kids' Micro-Marathon were part of the Active Endeavors Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday.
A total of 4,595 were signed up at the close of registration Saturday, a drop of about 400 competitors from last year’s 20th anniversary, and the event's lowest turnout since 2009, when the QCM attracted 4,327.
That drop occurred despite near-perfect weather conditions and a half-hour earlier start time, with officials seeking to avoid a repeat of the last few fall's, when unseasonably warm and humid weather made for slow times and difficulties finishing in the longest races.
The participation numbers include 506 marathoners; 1,925 half-marathoners; 808 relay runners and 1,031 in the 5K.
The elite men's and women's fields remained mostly unchanged from the final commitment list.
None of the 16 men and only one of the 13 women chasing cash prizes in the marathon was a late scratch.
The exception was Wisconsin’s Lisa Johnson, the eighth seed in the female field.
Three of the best half-marathoners are missing, though.
Second-seeded woman Jane Bareikis and fourth-seeded man Arturs Bareikis are both skipping the trip from Chicago. Top-seeded Kenyan Benson Cheruiyot also will miss the men’s 13.1-mile chase.
Injuries or travel troubles usually are the culprit when elite runners pull out of the field at the last minute, but QCM Elite Runner's Coordinator Ian Frink reported the foursome are all healthy scratches.
The first winners of the weekend were crowned Saturday in the mile.
United Township freshman Raven Miller was the fastest female. Phil Young, the operator of Davenport’s Fleet Feet runner’s store, was the men’s winner in a field-best 4:41.
In the latest improvement by the QCM, make sure to download the QCM APP for free from ITunes or GooglePlay to get updated race info and track any runner in the field. For details, visit live.sporthive.com/event/4272.
QCOnline also is posting updates from the finish line on the home page, so refresh this story often for today's winners.