April 22, 2017

Area runners finish near the top at the Illinois Marathon

Last year, after winning the Illinois Marathon's 5K race, (John) Ryan Thompsen gave one of, if not the best, post-race interview in the history of mankind. It took a minute before the newscaster caught on to the Star Wars references Thompsen used to describe his motivation and race experience in the since deleted video by the local television station that aired it. The deadpan delivery was classic.

John Ryan Thompsen runs to a 4th place finish
Ryan Thompsen runs last few steps of the 23rd mile of his race during the 2017 Illinois Marathon. Thompsen finished in 4th place overall at 2:23:08. See more photos from this year's marathon run here . . . PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The Force was with Thompsen in his marathon debut on Saturday. The former St. Joseph-Ogden high school cross country and track stand out and former North Central College distance specialist, led the area residents to the finish line with a fourth place overall finish in the 26.2 mile race. Averaging 5:51 per mile, Thompsen crossed the finish line at 2:33:08 and was first out of 78 men in the 20-24 age division.

He finished just 11 minutes behind the overall champion Teferi Bacha Regasa. The Morristown, NJ, runner pulled away from Terre Haute based runner Kenneth Kosgei in the last two miles clocking in at 2:22:18. Kosgei finished second overall at 2:24:07. Third place went to Arturs Bareikis who was over the line at 2:30:56.

The next local runner to cross the finish line at Memorial Stadium was Urbana's Alan Zhou. Seventh overall and first in the Mens 19 & under division, he finished at 2:38:46.

Rachel Brewer wins women's title at Illinois Marathon Thirteenth overall, Rachel Brewer, from Tuscola, won the women's side of the race with a time of 2:47:26. The Illinois State University alumni was also first out of the 450 women who finished this year's race and was 13th overall.

While there was not a male from Champaign in the top 100 marathon finishers, Urbana was well-represented at the top.

Leon Dean, Eduardo Ledesma, Dalmau Reig-I-Plessis and Michael Davis turned times faster than three and half hours or better.

Dean was 52nd overall at 3:04:34 and was 10th in the Men's 25-29. Ledesma was not far behind at 3:05:27 good for 55th overall and third in the Men's 40-44 age group. Reig-I-Plessis strolled over the finish line 15th in the 25-29 age group and 64th overall at 3:08:05.

A little more than three minutes later Michael Davis completed the course at 3:11:31, good for 80th place overall and 15th place in 35-39 age division.

In addition to Brewer, four other area women finished the Illinois Marathon in the top 100. Allison Gibson and Lisa Zyga, both from Champaign, along with Tessa Hanlon and Tonya Nunn, both from Mahomet, also were top-3 finishers in their respective age groups.

Gibson finished first in the Women's 20-24 category at 3:13:35. Hanlon finished nearly eight minutes behind Gibson to take the bronze medal in their division.

Zyga beat 61 runners from her age group to the finish line at 3:19:54 in the Female 30-34 division. Meanwhile, Nunn took home a third-place medal after her 3:25:10 time in the Women's Masters category.

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