Posted by: Joe English | October 5, 2008

Races: Ngigi; Semick win 2008 Portland Marathon

John Ngigi wins Portland Marathon

John Ngigi wins Portland Marathon

PORTLAND — John Ngigi of Glide, Oregon and Ultra-running star Kami Semick of Bend, Oregon have won the 2008 Portland Marathon ahead of a field of about 9,500 runners. Ngigi won the race in 2:31:22.

Ngigi came from behind to win, overcoming a huge gap in the last few miles to take the lead after picking up the pace. When asked what pace he was running he told me, “I wasn’t timing myself. I was just running to win.”

Semick was essentially unchallenged and led the women’s race from start to finish. She won women’s division in 2:45:24. Semick has been on a roll lately, placing second at both the XTERRA National Trail Running Championships and the USATF 50-mile Trail Running National Championships in the last few months.

In speaking about her strengths, Semick told me that she is better suited to the long distances of ultras and the intense climbing of those races. Marathons are “all about leg turn-over,” she said. “I like to climb.”

Headphones pose no problems
Portland took a controversial stand this year by not only foregoing the USATF ban on head-phones, but welcoming them as the “MP3 Player Friendly” event. In the finish area, I spoke with numerous runners about the issue and the overwhelming majority of runners praised Portland for taking the stand to allow runners to use headphones. One runner — with his headphones still in place — told me that the rule to ban them is “elitist and will just serve to discourage people from getting into the sport.”

In my informal survey of headphone wearing runners, I found that nearly all of them said they would choose head-phone friendly events over those banning them if the races were otherwise similar. Most made the caveat that they would not skip an important race — such as the Boston Marathon — if that race was enforcing the ban.

Wet, cool weather in Portland
The weather conditions were cold and wet this year with light-to-no wind on the course, making for good marathon running conditions. The morning started with light rain, which eased just after the sun came up. However, hard rain began to fall as most runners traversed the edge of Forest Park, heading out Highway 30 to the St. John’s Bridge. With temperatures in the mid-50s through the morning, the rain served mostly to cool people down, rather than making them shiver with cold.

Portland Marathon
October 5th, 2008

Overall Men’s Results
1. John Ngigi 2:31:22
2. Yasuhiro Karasu, 2:31:58
3. ALan Rozendaal, 2:34:22
4. Bret Kimple, 2:35:48
5. Rian Beach, 2:37:01

Overall Women’s Results
1. Kami Semick, 2:45:24
2. Yumiko Daigo, 2:50:29
3. Holly McIlvaine, 2:52:45
4. Mercedes Gil, 2:57:57
5. Monica Runningwolf, 2:58:17

We’re continuing to compile our complete coverage of the race, including in-depth interviews recorded with both the men’s and women’s winners after the race, a photo gallery and an interview with legendary running coach Joe Henderson of Eugene.

Check back here later today as we post our complete marathon coverage.

Running Advice and News


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