Space Coast Marathon - Record Turnout
November 29, 2009: The Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa Florida had a record turnout and perfect conditions this morning. With temperatures in the 50-degree range at the 6 a.m. start of the race, conditions couldn’t have been better for the 2,484 runners who took part in the race, which finished at Riverfront Park in Cocoa Village. This was up significantly from about 1,600 last year. The race director and entire team have done a great job in turning this into one of the best races anywhere.
The men's winner Matthew May of Athens, Georgia, was running his first marathon. He had run several half marathons, but had never won. He made his first full marathon a memorable one today, taking first place in 2:37:58.
With about three miles to go, May’s legs gave him a not-so-subtle reminder that he’d never run a 26.2 mile race before. “I felt good until about mile 23, and that’s when it hit me that … this is the real deal,” the 25-year-old from Athens, Ga., said. “(I told myself) Three miles to go. You run 5Ks all the time.”
Renae Cicchinelli won the women’s race in 2:59:01. The 29-year-old from Haines City had run 11 previous marathons, but it was the first time she had taken home the top prize.
Jon Volpi of Boca Raton felt he had some unfinished business to take care of after finishing second in last year’s men’s half-marathon. Now, he’ll have to think about coming back to defend his title after winning the race in 1:10:45 today.
Beth Whalen, who moved to Melbourne in July from Bettendorf, Iowa, won the women’s half-marathon. The 23-year-old turned in a time of 1:26:05. Meredith Van Veen, 24, also of Melbourne was second in 1:28:47.
The actual number of finishers was over 2,100, but about 300 less than the number registered. There were a couple of dozen DNFs and as with any marathon, quite a few DNSs (Did Not Start), since you register months in advance and then train like a maniac. Sometimes injury or life's events get in the way.
This race is truly becoming a classic and growing rapidly, in spite of its small town location. The race starts at 6:00 AM with a Shuttle countdown and launch on a huge Jumbotron screen and then runs along the beautiful Indian River for almost the entire 26.2 miles.
Another unique feature is that contests are held for the best aid station with cash prizes. As a result, numerous local groups team up to decorate and man aid stations, all with a space theme, since the race is held within site of the Kennedy Space Center. It is pretty amusing to be offered Gatorade by a group of Imperial Warriors, similar to those shown in the picture. You find yourself anticipating the next aid station, just to see what new surprise it will bring.
See you at next year's race!
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