PORTLAND – May 17, 2015 – Portland is known at the “City of Roses” and Oregon’s largest city didn’t disappoint on delivering the beauty of this flower Sunday at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon. Thousands of runners took to the city’s scenic streets for this race’s fourth edition in near-perfect conditions, a Signature Rose Festival Event.
The overall winner was Luke Puskedra of Eugene, Oregon who pushed through 13.1 miles in one hour, five minutes, and 10 seconds. Puskedra used to live in Portland.
“It was nice to be back and see the old stomping grounds that my wife and I used to visit,” he said. “We’re big foodies and I saw a lot of the restaurants we used to go to near the finish.”
Puskedra, a University of Oregon graduate and multiple All-American award winner, says he pushed the pace after the first mile, but that the hilly course presented some challenges to his legs. His splits at the 5K, 10K, and 15K mark were 14:26, 30:24, and 45:04 respectively. Puskedra said he was pleased with his performance today since it was the first long race he’s completed since his disappointing 36th-place showing at the New York City Marathon last November.
“This is the longest race I’ve run since then,” he said. “It’s good to come out here and do a little bit of the longer-distance stuff.”
Second place went to Scott MacPherson of (1:05:36) who admitted to having some fun out there.
“Portland is a cool city,” he said. “A lot of people were out there so it made it entertaining. The bands are always fun, so it was a blast.”
MacPherson, who ran the Boston Marathon at the end of April, was a last-minute entry. He was in Oregon visiting family and decided to throw his name in the ring. Paul Katam of Kenya was third in 1:05:59.
Portland’s own Susan Smith won the women’s race, clocking 1:21:52. The 22-year-old admitted it was hard at the start since the pack went out so quickly. Smith, who had won the Portland Marathon last October, wasn’t listed as an elite participant at the start and so she provided a bit of an upset.
“I know Portland and I like to run around the Southeast. But I forgot about the hills in the Northeast,” she said with a chuckle. Smith followed the advice of her coach today by not going out too fast at the start with the leaders and slowly reeled them in.
“His advice worked quite well,” she admitted.
She will be competing in the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon later this month with a goal of achieving the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials ‘B’ Standard (2:43). Second place was awarded to Julie Sawyer (1:22:08), while another Portland resident, Carre Heineck, placed third in 1:22:25.
A 10K race was held in conjunction with the half marathon. The top three spots went to Portland residents with Chris Clancy winning in 33:53. Second and third place were awarded to Seth Rosonina (34:06) and Alan Rozendaal(35:09). In the women’s division Christina Overbook Crawford was the first to break the tape in 37:09. Second place was awarded to Heather Macdonald who ran 38:31. Karen Ruckman was third in 40:25.
But fast-times aside, Portland was all about celebrating the joys of running with the infamous PDX Carpet lining the finish line. At this year’s event, one in five participants took part in their first half marathon. The course, which crossed the Willamette River twice, wound through the city including the eclectic neighborhoods of East Portland. Finishers celebrated their achievement at Tom McCall Waterfront Park by listening to Alaskan rock band Portugal. The Man who headlined the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series.
For complete results, photos and more, visit RunRocknRoll.com/Portland.