Here’s a nice, round number for Olympia’s Jesse Stevick — 10.
For the 10th time in 11 years, Stevick won the Capital City Marathon on Sunday. He finished the 35th running of the race in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 10 seconds.
“You’ve got to trust the work that you’ve put in,” Stevick said. “That’s got to be your mental state — I’ve put in all this work, and now it’s going to pay off.”
It did. The 34-year-old Stevick built a sizeable lead over the majority of the pack within the first couple of miles. Lacey’s Korey Konga was the only runner to stick with him.
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Konga ran with Stevick for the first 19 miles — and at one point led Stevick by about the length of a football field — before Stevick shook him, too.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Stevick said. “I just figured I’d try to stick with my pace, and if he wasn’t able to stick to his pace, I’d catch him — and I ended up doing that.”
By the time Stevick reached Mile No. 20, he was all but gone. And plenty of half-marathon racers cheered him along as he passed.
“People enjoy it, and people are thanking me for running it, which is great,” Stevick said. “It’s an awesome hometown race, and the number of people that are cheering my name out there is really special.”
He blazed down Capitol Way S. on the one-mile stretch — for fear of someone creeping up on him, he said. But none came close.
“There’s no guarantees at all,” Stevick said. “You can be feeling great until Mile 20 and then just hit the wall. ... So you just have to hold on to pace and race it, and that’s what I was doing.
“Midway, I was kind of thinking about consolation speeches — ‘Sorry I didn’t get 10, everybody.’ But, I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.”
And maybe no speeches, but there was certainly a celebration for the winningest marathon runner in Capital City Marathon history.
Linda Huyck, 44, won the women’s marathon for the second consecutive year. Her time of 3:04:10 is a course record for Masters runners (40 years old or older).
But Huyck — whose training had paced her to finish below three hours — ran the final nine miles of the race in severe pain.
“I started cramping,” she said.
Huyck, who has struggled with injuries in the past, was understandably frustrated with the finish.
“I jumped in just past halfway,” said Phil Jasperson, who often trains with Huyck. “She was kicking butt, on target. She was putting time in the bank as we like to call it. You never know what’s going to happen later.”
Jasperson said Huyck started to notice leg cramping around Mile No. 17.
“I had no idea, and then she’s just like, ‘I just had a twinge go through my calf,’ ” Jasperson said. “I didn’t like to hear that. She’s had issues with that before. I knew it could be something that goes away, or it was going to be a long next nine miles for her.”
It was, unfortunately, the latter. But Huyck continued to power through, hobbling across the finish line. She still cut her winning time last year by more than 10 minutes.
“She never stopped, she continued to pick up the pace where she could,” Jasperson said. “I see her smiling at the worst times at the course.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Seattle’s Daniel Womac, 40, won the men’s half-marathon with a time of 1:23:17, while 30-year-old Jo Markham from Olympia won the women’s half-marathon at 1:25:42.
Olympia’s Kieran Sprague, 20, won the five-mile race at 28:23, and Annie Wetterhus, a 36-year-old from Shawnee, Kansas, took the women’s title at 34:36.
The three races had a combined 1,916 finishers — 744 men and 1,172 women. The marathon had 313 finishers (178 men, 135 women), the half-marathon had 1,124 finishers (427, 697) and the five-mile race had 479 finishers (139, 340).