Two Alaska men prospered Sunday in the California International Marathon – age-group wonder Jeff Young delivered another impressive personal record and Tony Tomsich threw down a dynamite debut over 26.2 miles.
Young, 58, of Anchorage, won the men's 50-59 age group in 2 hours, 44 minutes, 25 seconds, an improvement of 17 seconds over his previous standard (2:44:42), set at the New York City Marathon in 2015.
"I'll take it – a year older,'' Young said by cellphone from Sacramento.
Young, a construction worker, met three of his four goals entering the race. He won his age group, ran a negative split – he covered the last half of the race 25 seconds faster than the first half – and posted the third-fastest 50-59 age group in the history of a race that has been around since 1983. He only came up shy of his fourth goal, a sub-2:44.
Still, Young flourished in conditions he called perfect – a temperature of about 40 degrees at race start and virtually no wind – and on a course that features rolling hills for more than the first half of the race, but is downhill overall. The course drops 340 feet from the start to the finish at the state capitol.
Young aimed to average 6:15 per mile and nearly met the mark – officially, he averaged 6:17.
"I just forced myself to keep that pace the whole race,'' Young said. "The last two miles, I was down digging in the bowels of my stomach to keep that pace.''
Young said he intends to return to the California International Marathon in 2018, when he aims to break the 60-64 age-group race record of 2:44:48.
Meanwhile, Tomsich, the former West Valley High and Western Washington University runner, targeted a sub 2:30 for his marathon debut and crushed that goal to finish 25th overall in 2:26:10.
Tomsich is a former UAA assistant running coach who recently moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where his fiancée is a doctoral candidate and he works in a running store. The former NCAA Division II All-American 1,500-meter runner had only raced one half-marathon in his career yet generated an elite marathon time, particularly for a rookie. Tomsich averaged 5:35 per mile.
"I'm stoked about it,'' he said by cellphone. "Last two or three miles were pretty tough, as I imagine it is in any marathon.''
But an impressive marathon debut left Tomsich believing he can cover 26.2 miles faster.
"To be able to get the training in and have a great debut,'' he said, "I'm excited about what it could potentially lead to.''