“It’s incredible,” Kyle said following the race, as runners congregated in Centennial Olympic Park. “For me being a big-time sports fan, diehard Falcons fan and a Braves fan, for us to realize a dream, and me becoming an athlete is really special for me and something that I’ll be forever grateful for.”
Sunday’s race was the biggest event yet for the foundation, begun in 2011 after Brent completed an Ironman triathlon in Louisville, Ky., and Kyle asked if they could do one together. Several of the team members pushing wheelchairs Sunday were volunteers who had no previous ties to those they pushed.
“We’d like to keep doing Ironmans and we’d love to bring more people with us, but what we really want to do is just bring awareness and open this up,” Brent said. “There’s no reason that anybody living with any type of disability should be excluded from whatever sporting activity there is out there.”
The men’s winner of the eighth Georgia Marathon was 33-year-old Kenyan Abraham Kogo, who finished in 2:33:21. It was the slowest winning time in the race’s history. Kogo, who ran six miles to school four times a day growing up (returning home for lunch), is based out of Hebron, Ky., to compete in U.S. road races.
The women’s winner was Polish national Justyna Mudy, 29, who lives and trains in Rome. Mudy broke away from her close friend and sometime training partner Jill Horst, winner of the past two Georgia Marathons, to win in 2:56:24.
Nathan Haskins, a former Kennesaw State runner from Atlanta, won the men’s half-marathon in 1:11:31 a day after competing in a five-kilometer race. The women’s winner was Kenyan Caroline Kiptoo, who is also training out of Hebron, with a time of 1:18:18.
According to race results, there were about 9,400 finishers in the marathon and half marathon, more than 2,500 shy of the total of registered entrants, perhaps due to the threat of rain. Except for a brief interlude of stiff winds, however, the overcast skies, a slight drizzle and temperatures in the 50’s made for ideal conditions for the marathon. As usual, it began in front of the CNN Center and then wound through the Sweet Auburn District, Inman Park, Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highland and Midtown. No serious medical issues were reported.