Rain, pain can't ruin Grandma's

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 17, 2012 - 4:35 AM

No one set a course record, but a personal best was enough for the Ethiopian winner.

view larger photos


DULUTH - The day before Grandma's Marathon, Lamech Mokono predicted something special was going to happen along the way from Two Harbors to Duluth. "I am ready to go,'' said the Kenyan, who won the race in 2008. "We can do something great.''

Mokono expected some of his fellow Africans would run with him Saturday in pursuit of a course record. Instead, they hung back -- and Mokono saw his hopes of winning dashed at the 22-mile mark. His two-man race with Berhanu Girma turned into a one-man race when Mokono took a gulp of water that went out through his nose, slowing him enough to allow Girma to run off for the victory in the 36th edition of the race.

Girma, 25, finished in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 25 seconds. That was the eighth-fastest winning time in Grandma's history, but it fell well short of Dick Beardsley's record of 2:09:37 set in 1981. Fellow Ethiopian Chala Lemi was second in 2:12:58, and Mokono finished third in 2:13:28.

Chris Erichsen of Minneapolis was the top American, earning ninth place in 2:16:31.

The thunderstorms that were forecast did not materialize during the race, though the gathering clouds held temperatures around 60 degrees. Despite the cool air, high humidity caused some discomfort among the 5,980 runners who started the race -- and rain came down on those who finished in the early afternoon.

Mokono thought conditions were ripe for a course record, and he was irritated that no one pushed the pace. Girma stood by the strategy that earned him his first victory at the 26.2-mile distance and a winner's check of $11,500.

"It was part of my game plan,'' Girma said through an interpreter. "I wanted to be one step back. I didn't want to take the lead.

"I thought I would put up a good fight, but I never thought I would [win]. I'm very happy.''

Girma was bothered by abdominal pain through much of his Grandma's Marathon debut. That prevented him from running the time he wanted, though he still finished with a personal record.

He and Mokono were part of a lead pack of about 16 runners early in the race, which dwindled to seven at the 12-mile mark. Mokono thought the group of Kenyans and Ethiopians would push him on the lead, but they did not. By mile 19, Mokono and Girma had broken loose in front.

A leg cramp had begun troubling Mokono, and Girma had taken a slight lead just before the water station at Lemon Drop Hill. Mokono said the water that went into his mouth ended up in his nose and almost caused him to collapse. As much as that annoyed him, he was just as irked by the reticence of his fellow runners.

"I'm not happy with the guys,'' he said. "They are elite runners, so why are they running like cowards? I expected us to work together. We could have run a course record, but nobody wanted to run with me.''

  • related content

  • First-time winner takes half marathon

    Saturday June 16, 2012

    DULUTH - The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon drew fewer elite runners this year, as many opted to run the USA half marathon championships that preceded it Saturday morning. That did...

  • Goucher says victory is a 'dream come true'

    Saturday June 16, 2012

    The Duluth native used the race as a tuneup for the Olympic marathon Aug. 5.

  • Grandma's: Women's marathon

    Saturday June 16, 2012

    First place was the only logical finish for a 31-year-old Kenyan who finished third in 2010 and second in '11.

  • Grandma's Marathon results

    Sunday June 17, 2012

    Complete results: Go here for race results of all the Grandma's weekend races.

  • Berhanu Girma

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL


question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters