Engel finishes first; Ochs bests women’s field in Sunday’s SJ Island marathon

  • Wed Jun 8th, 2011 12:52am
  • Sports

First to finish: Chuck Engel of Coos Bay

Chuck Engel has run a marathon or two in his time.

In fact, the 40-year-old self-described long-distance running “maniac” completed marathon No. 243 when he crossed the finish line outside the county fairgrounds with the fastest time at the San Juan Island marathon, Sunday, June 5.

Though first among the field of 50 or so runners that braved the 26-2-mile course, and the hills, and the heat, Engel said his top-place time of 3:07:32 might have been quicker had he not just run the 26-2-mile marathon in Newport Oregon — the day before.

“The heat was as brutal as the hills,” the Coos Bay, Ore., native said. “But the course is great and the scenery is gorgeous, and that’s the reason I’m coming back.”

On the hottest day of the year, so far, Engel and 240 other runners, and walkers, tested their determination against the heat and the hills of San Juan Island’s 7th annual long-distance road run, which features a full 26.2-mile marathon, a 13.1-mile half marathon, and which included a a companion 10K run for the first time this year.

Monica Ochs of Anacortes was first among the women’s marathon field to cross the finish line. The 40-year-old veteran runner and nurse average nearly eight minutes per mile across the 26.2-mile course to clock in at 3:29:07.

Friday Harbor’s Violeta Jimenz, 25, was the first islander of either gender to complete the full marathon, crossing the finish line in 3:58:14. She just barely eclipsed Friday Harbor’s 48-year-old Laurie Riley to earn local bragging rights, as Riley finished the course in 3:59:51.

The island’s annual long-distance, sponsored by Kings Market, drew a field made up both of veteran runners and many others who put themselves to the test for the first time.

Friday Harbor freshman Carolyn Close completed her first-ever marathon in just over three hours. And Kiersten Luginbill of Portland, Ore., opted for the San Juan marathon after deciding that running a marathon was on her “bucket list”.

“I didn’t have a time in mind really, I just wanted to finish,” said Luginbill, 26, who began training for the run only about three months before. “It’s kind of a big deal for me; I cried.”

Bothell’s Greg Poffenroth, 27, was first among the half-marathon field, clocking in at 1:27:35, about 2 minutes ahead of 35-year-old Brady Houck of Edmonds. Forty-eight-year-old Kathy Lundy tallied a time of 1:38:48 to finish first among the half-marathon women’s field.

— For more coverage of San Juan Island’s 2011 Marathon and Half-Marathon, and 10K, see the June 8 edition of the Journal, or look for further updates on SanJuanJournal.com