As swiftly as he got around the Twin Cities Marathon course on Sunday, Mbarak Hussein really turned on the speed after winning his fifth title in the men’s masters division.
Hussein crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 27 seconds — and before he could catch his breath, he was told that his wife, Liana, had gone into labor with the couple’s first child. He immediately began trying to get home to Albuquerque, N.M., as quickly as possible. Hussein, 49, won the race — and the U.S. masters championship — for the second year in a row and fifth time since 2005.
Michael Wardian, 40, finished second in 2:22:44. Defending champion Sheri Piers, 43, won the women’s masters division and the U.S. women’s masters title in 2:42:46.
“I’m very, very happy,” said Hussein, who finished 14th overall. “This is the first time in a long time I’ve come to the starting line feeling healthy. But I’m so comfortable with this course, I can come in less than 100 percent and still run well.
“I feel lucky to come back and win. It doesn’t get any easier.”
Hussein, who has fully recovered from injuries to his calf and Achilles’ tendon that bothered him for two years, ran strongly through the first half of the race and overtook early leader Kevin Castille. Though he was uncomfortable in the cold weather over the final miles, he managed to hold off Wardian.
Wardian, who recently completed a 100-mile race, hoped to lower his personal best time of 2:17. In his 40th competition this year, he steadily moved up in the field but could not catch Hussein.
“He’s an amazing athlete,” said Wardian, who will compete in the 50K and 100K world championships later this year. “He was a little too far ahead, and I wasn’t able to cut into his lead. I wish [the race] had been another 600 meters.”
Coming up short
Defending champion Jon Peterson of Minneapolis won the TC 10 Mile — or, rather, the TC almost-10 Mile — earlier Sunday morning. Peterson’s time of 48:12 came on a new course that was accidentally shortened by .14 miles when the lead vehicle missed a turn.
The 10 Mile course had to be reconfigured after a June mudslide caused a long-term closure of West River Parkway. The new route turned right onto 11th Avenue from the parkway, but the police vehicle that was leading the way did not make the turn, and the runners followed it. The car, and the field, corrected the mistake and got back on the proper course at 13th Avenue.
Allison Mendez of Austin, Texas, won the women’s division of the 10 Mile in 56:27. A record 8,574 runners completed the race.
Marathon officials said an unidentified runner is expected to recover after collapsing on the course and being hospitalized in critical condition.
The runner was treated by first responders who patrol the course on bicycles, then was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. Virginia Brophy Achman, executive director of race organizer Twin Cities in Motion, praised the quick action of the on-course patrol. “They got to the person right away,” she said. “They did an amazing job.”
The cool, overcast weather helped limit the number of runners who needed medical attention. Race officials said about 90 runners were treated at the medical tent near the finish line, and five were taken to medical facilities.
• Last year’s champions in the wheelchair division, Josh George and Susannah Scaroni, both defended their titles Sunday. George clocked a time of 1:39:16, while Scaroni finished in 1:57:21, a year after setting a women’s course record of 1:54:37.
• A total of 24,441 people participated in marathon weekend events, which also included a 10K, a 5K run/walk and races for families and children.