If a suspect were to take off on foot in a 26.2-mile pursuit, Paul Sarris would likely be able to catch him.
The 34-year-old patrol officer for the Newport Beach Police Department won the Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach, beating last year's winner by nearly five minutes at 2:30:09 in his first-ever marathon-length race.
This adds Paul Sarris' time.
Sarris, an Aliso Viejo resident and nine-year veteran of the Newport force, competed for the University of Iowa. He's been a casual runner since his college days.
For Surf City, he began training in earnest last September when a friend mentioned going on a 16-mile run that day, which inspired him.
By the end of the month, Sarris said he was training at a higher level, and by the end of January he was running more than 100 miles in a two-week span.
Newport police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe said the weeks leading up to his final run were a balancing act for the father of two.
"It was really admirable [that] he was able to balance a career, family and all the training that is required to win a marathon," she said.
Sarris said he set a realistic goal, knowing it would be his first time. But he surpassed his expectations when he was the first to cross the finish line Sunday.
"It was like an oasis in the desert when you see the finish line," Sarris said.
When he hit the 19-mile mark — the breaking point for many runners — Sarris ran past competitors who, at the time, were ahead of him.
At the 24-mile mark, he began to feel that his left calf was going to explode, but he pushed on to the finish line.