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Woodbury runners earn finisher medals in Grandma’s Marathon

More than 80 runners from Woodbury took to the streets of Duluth last Saturday for the 40th annual Grandma's Marathon.

Pretty it wasn't: marathoners braved humidity, cramps and baking pavement as temperatures climbed to near 80 degrees. By 11:30 a.m., as many of the mid-pack runners were grinding up Lemon Drop Hill near mile 22, race officials had put up the black flag, signifying a high risk of heat stress.

Nicholas Jackson, 22, was the top Woodbury finisher with a time of 3 hours, 8 minutes, 4 seconds. Brie McSherry, 33, was the top Woodbury female finisher, posting a 3:29:28.

Rod Loran, 59, ran a personal best of 3:36:05.

The marathon drew 9,600 runners, while 9,577 competitors ran the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon earlier that same day.

Mark Sanders, 30, and Kaylynn Conrad, 27, were the top Woodbury finishers in the half, with respective times of 1:14:50 and 1:45:15.

Roger Green, 64, finished slower than usual thanks to the heat and humidity, which was estimated to be 88 percent.

"It was not the ideal conditions for running by any means," said Green, who finished the 13.1-mile race in 2:15:21.

Heat wasn't the biggest obstacle for Sandra Escala of Woodbury, who took more than three hours to finish her second half-marathon.

"Halfway through my knee kind of gave out," she said. "I had to walk or hobble my way to the end."

If you think she's discouraged, guess again.

"We already reserved our hotel for next year," she said. "Even if I don't get in I'll still be there and cheer."

Runners from Cottage Grove, Newport, Afton and St. Paul Park also competed in the weekend's three races.

After the race, scores of marathoners waded into the frigid waters of Lake Superior to soothe the inflamed muscles in their legs.

A partial list of Woodbury marathon finishers:

• Nicholas Jackson, 22, 3:08:04;

• Rob Class, 55, 3:25:33;

• Brie McSherry, 33, 3:29:28;

• Craig Moss, 42, 3:32:06;

• Rod Loran, 59, 3:36:05;

• Suzanne Schons, 43, 3:37:40;

• Luke Wagner, 33, 3:44:30;

• Milan Tomaska, 38, 3:44:37;

• Lauren Lampright, 19, 3:44:43;

• Jennifer Duronio, 41, 3:45:10;

• Wiseman Sikakane, 54, 3:46:04.

For complete results, visit grandmasmarathon.com.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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