ST.PAUL (AP) -- Marathoner Eddy Hellebuyck of Albuquerque, N.M., has a message for anyone who thinks their best days are behind them when they turn 30. "The old guy is not done yet," said Hellebuyck, 42, after winning Sunday's Twin Cities Marathon.
Trailing the race's leader by more than 60 yards with less than five miles remaining, Hellebuyck caught and passed 25-year-old Kenyan Gabriel Muchiri at mile 23 and pulled away, winning the race in 2:12:47. Russian Fedor Ryzhov finished second more than a minute later in 2:13:59. Muchiri finished fourth in 2:14:53.
Brainerd's Turena Johnson Lane and Wadena's Johanna Olson posted Olympic qualifying times at the Twin Cities Marathon.
The two area runners qualified for the olympic trials by running under the 2:48:00 standard. Johnson Lane finished sixth overall in the women's division with a time of 2:40:14. Olson was right behind, finishing seventh with a time of 2:43.27.
For Hellebuyck, who has a reputation for expending too much effort early in races, the patient approach marked a successful change in strategy.
"That patience was a new thing," said Hellebuyck, who took home $30,500 in prize money and bonuses. "Apparently I'm getting older and smarter. After so many years I've finally learned how to run a marathon."
The women's race was won by first-time marathoner Blake Russell of Acton, Mass., who led wire-to-wire. Russell, 28, led her closest rival by as much as three minutes at several points in the race and won with a time of 2:30:41. Russian Irina Safarova finished second in 2:32:33.
"I think I went at it a little hard," said Russell. "I like to be up in front, so I went out kind of fast. With three miles to go I was thinking it was pretty stupid to go out so fast."
The early fast pace led to troubles for Russell later in the race. Running alone for the final six miles, Russell had some problems with cramping and stopped briefly to stretch, but finished strong.
"They say marathons start at mile 20, and that's where I really started to struggle," she said. "I think I'll take a while and let the pain subside before I run another one."
Saul Mendoza won the wheelchair race for the fifth time, finishing in 1:39:35.
For Hellebuyck, the only goal he missed was his aim to run the race in 2:12 or better, which is a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic trials.
"I know I have a 2:12 in me," he said. "I'm pretty positive that I'll be a factor at the Olympic trials. And you're never disappointed when you win a race like this."
The race began at 8 a.m. near the Metrodome in Minneapolis and finished in front of the State Capitol in St. Paul. Weather conditions were considered perfect for running, with mostly clear skies, temperatures in the low 50s and very little wind.
More than 8,000 runners started the 22nd edition of the race, which is considered one of the more scenic urban marathons in the world.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.