A splendid albeit windy day of weather greeted the more than 12,000 runners of the 35th Cowtown Marathon on Sunday morning, taking to the scenery of — with all respect due famed country musician Ray Price —uptown, downtown and Cowtown, too.
Two Fort Worth natives, Elizabeth Eder and Craig Ottman, claimed the prestigious men’s and women’s marathon titles in crossing the finish line before anybody else.
In Eder’s case, long before anybody else.
Eder’s only competition was herself and the now notorious uphill Mile 9 stretch over the Paddock Viaduct up North Main Street toward the courthouse — not to mention a few demons from a bad experience in her previous run — but she conquered all in finishing the 26.2-mile course in a record 2:46.09, shattering the old standard of 3:06.02.
Eder’s 6:20 pace was better than Gina Hendrickon, who finished second, a full 19 minutes behind. Maria Martinez of Fort Worth was third, 31 minutes back.
“I feel really proud to represent my city,” said Eder, 25, a Nolan Catholic High School graduate who works in the institutional research department at Tarrant County College’s downtown river campus after studying and running at Trinity University.
“The hardest part I think is that dreaded stretch on Main Street because you stare at it so long” in the approach, said Eder. “But once you get there you realize it’s not that steep, it’s just long. Mentally, after I got past that, I thought, ‘I got this.’”
Ottman, 30, a civil engineer who now lives in Keller, led wire to wire in capturing his first marathon title.
He completed the course in 2:36.21. Heinz Schwarzkopf, a student at the UNT Health Science Center who ran track and cross country at UT Arlington, followed him over the finish line at 2:40:01 or 3:39 back.
“It’s unreal to finally win one,” said Ottman, who expressed his good-natured jealousy at watching friend Logan Sherman win a few years back. “It’s great that it’s the hometown one.”
The race also serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
Eder, whose goal was to break 2:50, rebounded from a forgettable long-distance run at the San Antonio Marathon on a hot, miserable fall day.
Her consolation was in winning, though she did so 20 minutes slower than Sunday.
“After that I knew I needed to do another race, so I signed up immediately” for the Cowtown, she said.
Eder said her preparation included her first 100-mile training week.
“Mentally and physically, I felt more prepared."
Having overcome bad with good, Eder said she is unsure at this point what her next race will be.
She has a goal of trimming her time three minutes to reach the Olympic Trials mark, 2:43.
“That’s three minutes off today’s time,” Eder said. “And go [to the trials]. I don’t care if I finish last, I just want to run in the Olympic Trials.”