Ritchie Runs 2:14:50 for 6th Place at the USA Men's Marathon Championship
Coming off of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Tim Ritchie
admitted that the result did not match his expectations. "I knew going into the Boston Marathon that I was the most fit I have ever been, but the marathon was supposed to be a big learning experience and I had quite a bit to learn! The result was very shy of what my goals were, both for time and for place...At first glance it hurt me to have nothing to show for all those months of very hard work... Although I fell short of my ideal race in Boston, the training and racing experience for that race will pay huge dividends in the end."
Ritchie started to collect those dividends at the 2013 USA Men's Marathon Championship, hosted by the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, October 6, 2013. Ritchie ran a negative split, passing through the half in 1:07:36 and finishing in 2:14:50, more than six minutes faster than his 2:21:31 debut at the 2013 Boston Marathon. His time earned him a 6th-place finish and boosted his rankings in the 2013 USA Road Racing Circuit. With only the U.S. National Road Race Championship 12k remaining, Ritchie improved to fifth place in the standings, just one point behind Mo Trafeh and two points ahead of Nick Arciniaga.
Ritchie had this to say about his marathon:
"I was excited for the opportunity to try the marathon again and very glad that I chose the Twin Cities/US Championship. The course was beautiful, St Paul was a great place to be and the competition was tough. The fans at the race were awesome support and I had a few BC buddies in town to provide those extra cheers when I needed them. The Boston Marathon was a huge learning experience and will always be a highlight of my running career, but I knew I had a better race in me somewhere. I took a lot of what I learned from Boston, the good, the bad and the ugly, and applied it to my training, my mindset and my racing strategy. Above all, I took the spirit of the marathon world, so well demonstrated all day in Boston on Marathon Monday, as my motivation to keep trying.
"The race plan was to be patient and run my own race. I did have a goal of placing within the top 5, but only if that was an option in the final 10k of the race. It took a lot for me to hold back as the lead back started to pull ahead after 5k, but I knew all too well how hard the last miles are if the first ones were too quick. I averaged 510-512/mi pretty consistently for the first few miles and hit the halfway point at 1:07:35, over a minute slower than Boston, but feeling strong. I had someone to run with for the first 16 miles before he unfortunately started to struggle and had to drop out. At that point I was on my own, but able to see the lead pack strung out and in sight. From mile 16 to the finish I was simply focusing on reeling in the next person in front of me. I slowly crept my way from 13th or 14th up to the top 10 by mile 20. The 20 mile mark is where the hills begin and this time I was ready to really run them (courtesy of great advice from Terry Shea and Jeannette Faber). My pace did not slow up too much over the hills and although I was hurting by the end I still was able to keep pace over the last two miles into downtown St Paul. I ran as hard as I could the last 400m and broke 2:15 for the 'A' Standard qualifier for the Olympic Trials and finished only 6 seconds outside of the top 5."
"I was so happy to have run a smooth race, conquer my fear of the last 10k, and come as close as I could have to my top 5 goal. I am proud to have snagged another top 10 finish at a National Championship to bring home to my fellow Unicorns! Finally, as in every race, I learned more and am hungry for the next challenges ahead. On to the next one!"
For Twin Cities Marathon results click here
For current standings click here
For more information on the season-ending race visit the event website