Tim Ritchie Wins First National Title in Thrilling Fashion
In a race that developed rapidly over the final ten kilometers, Tim Ritchie waited in the ranks, biding his time. From the start in Folsom, Calif., Parker Stinson bolted ahead of the field just after the one mile split and a chase pack of men emerged, steadily clipping off 5:05 miles against Stinson’s 4:55’s. By the 10k split, Stinson had a healthy lead of approximately 60 seconds and it was clear that he made a decisive move.
Stinson seemed content running his own race and as far as the media van could tell, never looked back to check if anyone was working to close the gap. Jon Grey, who ultimately would go on to finish in 45th (2:20:08), surged from the main pack after the eight mile mark and asserted himself as a contender at the half-way point (66:03).
Meanwhile, Danny Tapia, Fernando Cabada, George Alex, Kiya Dandena, Samuel Kosgei, and Tyler McCandless started to slowly real the two front runners in, with the majority of the leading done by Tapia.
At mile 17, Stinson still maintained the lead but was slowly starting to settle into a slower 5:05-5:10 pace. The jury was still out as to whether these were anomaly miles or part of a broader trend. It would only take a few more miles until the writing was on the wall.
At the crossing of the American River at the H Street Bridge, it was time for the men’s elite field to come to terms with the decisions they made over the first twenty miles. Ritchie and McCandless found another gear and slowly tightened the screws to turn in some 4:55 miles over the last 10k, while Parker struggled with cramps, stopping a few times to stretch out.
Over the last 5k, Ritchie separated himself from McCandless and Dandena, and turned toward the State Capital as the champion of the 35th running of the California International Marathon.