Modesto’s Jon Olsen and Sonora’s Ashley Laird each turned in dominating performances while winning divisions of the sixth annual Santa Rosa Marathon on Sunday.
The 40-year-old Olsen ran the 26.2 miles in 2:32:36 to defeat runner-up Mario Fraioli of San Mateo by just under two minutes.
Laird, who is 35, was the only female to finish in under three hours. She was timed in 2:58.:31. She wound up more than nine minutes ahead of runner-up Qian Zhu.
The top local finishers were Melinda Takano (3:34:18) and Bryan Bei (3:00:32).
The marathon was one of three races decided Sunday. The race began and ended at Juilliard Park while taking the runners through west Sonoma County.
The winners of the half-marathon were San Jose’s Justin Valdez (1:08:07) and Palo Alto’s Emily Kraus (1:25:51).
The quickest finishers from Santa Rosa were Andrea Guzman (1:37:00) and Kenny Brown (1:24:58).
The shortest race of the day was the 5k and winning gold medals were Elissa Zakrasek of Los Altos (18:43) and San Anselmo’s Cole Schwartz (16:43).
Santa Rosa’s Lea Stretch finished third overall with a 20:41 clocking. Local resident Guy Schott completed the course in 17:47 and that was good for fourth place.
Olsen, the male marathon winner, took the lead at the 20-mile mark.
“I was in second place when I got my second wind,” he said. “I went past the leader and opened up a lead of about a 100 yards.” Dustin Whitlow of Arlington, Va., was the runner Olsen passed.
Once in front, Olsen just wanted to keep his focus.
“My goal was to run 5:40 miles the rest of the way,” the school teacher said.
“I felt if I did that, no one would catch me.”
The night before the race, Olsen and his family stayed at a hotel near downtown.
“I wasn’t sleeping that well and then we got that jolt from the earthquake,” he said. “I was able to fall back asleep and then woke up at 4:45.
“It felt good to race. My legs felt snappy. Two runners went to the front at the start and I was among three runners right behind them.
“The two guys I was running with wound up finishing second and third.”
Olsen ran the second half of the race faster than the opening half.
“It went exactly as I planned it in my head,” he said. “It feels good to win, but tomorrow I’ll be back training again.”
Olsen, who usually contests longer events, will compete next in a 153-mile race in Greece. That one will start in Athens on Sept. 26.