Jason Brosseau had an uh-oh moment three miles into Saturday’s U.S. Air Force Marathon. He was pushing with the lead pack but realized it was too windy and humid to keep up a torrid 5-minute, 30-second pace.
Backing off, he slipped into cruise control through mile 20, then started racing over the hilly final 6.2 miles.
“With six (miles) to go I put my game face on and started picking people off,” he said. “The first 20 miles is a run. The last 10K, that’s the race.”
That turned into a winning strategy for the Air Force Captain and Colorado Springs PhD student. Brosseau, 29, was the overall winner, covering the 26.2-mile race in two hours, 46 minutes and one second.
Major Elissa Ballas of Chicago capped her last active day of duty as the women’s marathon winner (2:57:21).
They were the headliners in a series of races that drew more than 15,000 participants over two days at W-PAFB and Wright State University.
Brosseau had run this race just once, placing second in 2010. The former Southern Illinois University standout was determined to return and win.
He finally overtook runner-up Matthew Farkas of Indianapolis at the 25-mile mark.
“This race has been five years in the making,” said Brosseau, who also won the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon at Las Vegas in his last go at this distance. “This is a dream come true.”
Ballas was second in this race in 2014 and, like Brosseau, was determined to better that. She did by pulling away from runner-up and 2014 champ Nicola Holdsworth of Columbus at about the 18-mile mark.
“My goal was to come back and win,” said Ballas, 35, who’s in medical school at Midwestern University near Chicago and was sixth overall.
Ballas has run 25 marathons and has won several overseas. Currently a physical therapist, she’ll likely return to the Air Force in four years as an emergency room medical doctor.
• Tyler Sullivan, 27, of Iowa City pulled some major active duty. A friend suggested they run a three-peat: the 5K, 10K and half-marathon. “I’m like, what the heck, why not?” he said.
On Friday Sullivan was the overall 5K winner (17:01). On Saturday morning he placed second in the 10K, then made it to the half-marathon start line after about 10 minutes of recovery and placed 26th.
“I’m done,” he said afterward. “No cool down.”
• Greenon High School graduate Anne Portlock was the women’s half-marathon winner (1:23.59). She also won the 13.1-mile race in 2004.
“It’s nice to finally get back,” said Portlock, 33, who’s affiliated with the AFROTC at Indiana University in Bloomington. “It’s only been 11 years, two kids and who knows what else.”
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