Jose Madera ran the fifth marathon of his life on Sunday, amid rain, wind and cold. But to him it all felt good, because he won his first marathon at the 13th annual US Bank OC Marathon.
Madera, 25, a former Anaheim High and University of San Francisco standout, finished the 26.2 wet miles in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 44 seconds, a pace of 5:48 per mile. McKale Montgomery, 32, a college professor from Chandler, Ariz., won the women's title in 2:54:40 (6:40 per mile pace).
"Last year I did the half-marathon so for the whole first half [on Sunday] I knew where it was and felt fine," said Madera, who lives in Santa Ana. "But the second half was pretty rough. The last three or four miles were exhausting. Thank God I made it through and I came with the win."
A brief hailstorm fell over Newport Beach at the start of the race. It didn't seem to bother Madera as he ran through Irvine and Santa Ana, and into Costa Mesa, ending at the OC Fairgrounds. There were about 2,000 runners in the marathon and 8,500 in the half-marathon.
Juan Parades, 27, of Los Angeles and Sean Watson, 31, of Rolling Hills Estates followed Madera in second (2:34:14) and third (2:34:43), respectively.
Madera was a star at Anaheim High, where he was the fastest sophomore in California for cross-country. He finished second in Division 1 at the CIF State meet in his senior year. He recently graduated from USF with a degree in marketing and advertising. He currently works in sales for a nutrition company, he said.
Montgomery is also familiar with nutrition. That what she teaches at Midwestern University, a medical school in Glendale, Ariz. She said she was excited about winning on Sunday and also for the news she received on Friday, she said.
She said she has been hired for a faculty position at Oklahoma State University.
Montgomery, who ran her 19th marathon and won her fourth, experienced a significant change in temperatures this weekend. She was in Arizona on Friday, when it was 106 degrees. It was around 55 degrees Sunday morning in Orange County.
She said the rain actually aided her during the marathon.
"It was kind of good because it forced me to slow down," she said. "It was slick and pouring and I took it easy. I never got hot because I was wet the whole time. The hard part was the wind. There was headwind during the whole last mile."
Kimberly Hicks, 39, of Vista and Bessy Leszczynski, 32, of San Diego were second (3:02:47) and third (3:09:56), respectively, among women in the marathon.
The weekend of OC Marathon events, beginning with an expo on Friday, then a kids mile-run and a 5K on Saturday, went rather smoothly, race director Gary Kutscher said.
He said about 9,500 kids participated in the mile run Saturday morning and approximately 3,000 ran in the Wahoo's OC 5K.
The Orange County Fair Board did not accept a five-year rental contract with the OC Marathon in March, instead approving only this year of rental while the board closely examines the deal.
"I'm totally confident that we'll be at the Fair and the Fair is going to be our home for a long time," Kutscher said.
Jordan Chipangama, 28, of Flagstaff, Ariz. won the half-marathon in 1:07:13. Bridie McCarey, 28, of San Diego was the half-marathon women's champion in 1:17:12.
Hunter Bliss, 34, of San Diego won the 5K in 16:01. Ashlee Powers, a former Corona del Mar High standout, was the 5K women's champion in 17:27.