February 22, 2014

Cowtown defending champion wins first leg of her weekend races

Elizabeth Eder wins the 10K and goes for Sunday’s half marathon title.

Elizabeth Eder’s presence atop Cowtown Marathon leaderboards is becoming common as cotton candy on the Stock Show midway at the same Will Rogers Memorial Center.

The Cowtown women’s marathon winner a year ago, Eder, a Fort Worth native, darted around the course in a personal-record-tying 36 minutes, 32 seconds to cross the finish line first and claim the 10K women’s title on a mild, although somewhat windy, Saturday.

Bob Weiner of Evergreen, Colo., bested the men’s field in 33:31.

If not for running into a stiff wind on miles 4 through 6, Eder likely would have run a personal best.

“I was a little tiffed because that was my PR in college,” said Eder, 26, a graduate of Fort Worth Nolan Catholic High School before studying at Trinity University in San Antonio. “I slowed up a little there [between miles 4 and 6].

“But, alas, I hit my personal best.”

Eder’s time was slightly more than a minute off the course record, set by Melissa Christian, a Dallas resident who covered the Will Rogers course in 35:25.

Fort Worth residents swept the 5K races.

Jake Powers, 22, won in 16:48, while Jessica Smith, 36, paced the women’s field at 18:28, seven seconds off the course record.

The 36th running of the Cowtown Marathon begins at 7 a.m. Sunday, along with its newer companion races, the 30-mile ultra and the 13.1-mile half marathon.

Eder is the defending women’s marathon champion, winning in 2013 in 2:46.09.

She will not be competing at that distance this year, but will double up by participating in the half.

Eder said she feels some regret not returning to defend, considering this year’s field will be the deepest and fastest ever at the Cowtown. She said she simply hadn’t run the miles necessary to be a contender.

“I’m hoping to recover for” Sunday, Eder said. “I haven’t done a double like this. I want to see if I can really push myself and see what happens.”

Eder has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon in 2016 and admitted that she “checked out” a little after hitting the qualifying mark.

Eder, though, has a good reason for cutting back on her mileage. She’s preparing for her wedding in May.

Yet, she’s well aware that she’ll have to step it up.

A taste of the the Olympic trials competition at the USA half marathon championships in Houston in January gave Eder a new understanding of the quality of runners she’ll see.

“That was a big piece of humble pie,” Eder said. “There are so many fantastic runners. It was really neat running at that level. I learned a lot of what not to do that day.”

“I’m hoping to come out and run a little smarter” Sunday.

And if that happens, Eder will more than likely again be somewhere at the head of the field, which would surprise no one.

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