Annie Bersagel didn’t back off when the marathon front-runners went out aggressively. In the end, she won as her competitors wilted.
Annie Bersagel headed to the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday with a plan.
The 30-year-old, whose parents live in Victoria, knew her ideal pace, her target splits — with the second half meant to be faster than the first — and her finishing time goal.
One minute into the 26.2-mile trek, all of that went out the window.
“I saw the first two runners [Atalelech Asfaw and Wendy Thomas] take it out pretty hard,” said Bergasel, who now lives in Oslo, Norway. “I knew the pace was a bit ambitious, but I wanted to keep them within striking distance.”
Bergasel believed that all of the lead five runners or so were in about the same shape.
“So I just felt confident that if this was going to be a real painful second half, it was going to be a real painful second half for all of us, she said.”
Ultimately, her instincts proved to be right on the money. Bersagel placed first by more than two minutes, with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 52 seconds, even as she nearly collapsed at the finish line and chose not to take a victory lap.
The fast start took a much greater toll on the others. Asfaw ended up fifth, almost five minutes behind Bersagel, Thomas sixth and Meghan Peyton — who was one of the favorites — crossed the line ninth.
Laura Portis and Esther Erb, who finished second and third, respectively were able to pass all three, but never caught sight of Bersagel.
“I never saw Annie,” Erb said.
Portis was able to take advantage of the fatigue of the fast starters, picking up her pace significantly in the second half.
“The unexpected part came at about mile 21 when I had a lot more left than I thought I was going to, and I was just able to make a move,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be able to run marathons that way, but it never ended up like that.”
In the heart of the race, Bersagel was worried she might be a similar casualty.
“But I was thinking when I came through that half, ‘Oh, my coach is going to kill me,’ ” the Colorado native said. “Luckily I went all the way, so I don’t think he’ll be too angry.
“It was a big risk, but I thought [that] I didn’t come all the way here from Oslo to run safe.”
Bersagel ran with Peyton for about 10 miles before making a move to attack Asfaw and Thomas. She caught Asfaw around mile 20 and ultimately passed Thomas — who grew up in the same county in Colorado as Bersagel and has competed against her many times — with about four miles to go.
While Bersagel lives in Oslo now, she ran Sunday for New Balance Silicon Valley. Bersagel graduated from Stanford Law School in June. Now, she runs for a Norwegian club, along with husband, Oyvind.
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|San Diego St||65||FINAL|
|Bowling Green||12/6/13 7:00 PM|
|(16) Northern Ill|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|Palm Beach Atlantic||48||FINAL|
|William & Mary||59|
|Utah Valley U||60||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||47|
|San Diego Christian||28||FINAL|
|UC Santa Barbara||56|