New year, new course, but same old success.
The Hilton Head Island Marathon took place Saturday morning, beginning and ending at Jarvis Park, with over 1,000 runners in three different races treated to perfect running weather, a fresh route and cheering spectators at the finish line.
The well-wishers at the event's conclusion were the first to greet winner Tim Price of Warren, Pennsylvania, who crossed the line in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds, about five minutes ahead of his personal best time. The 25-year-old works as a naturalist in Port Royal and is moving to Bluffton soon. He said he enjoyed the diverse nature of the course, with different surfaces and a few trips over the Cross Island Parkway to liven things up a bit.
"I really like the highway for some reason," Price said of the new course. "There was sun on the highway. Back in the beginning in that shade was a little chilly. Great course. It goes through nice little communities and you have everything: Road, gravel, dirt."
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Price said he runs about a marathon a month from fall to spring. The Hilton Head Island event stacked up well with the others, Price said.
The women's race was won by 27-year-old Amanda An of Ellicot City, Maryland. A medical student spending two months on Hilton Head Island studying for the board exam, An crossed the line in 3:17.38 and was welcomed by four of her friends.
"It was beautiful," An said. "Where I'm from is actually really hilly, and so it's actually kind of hard for me to run on flat."
Price and An weren't the only people to finish the event with accolades. In the half-marathon, John Montes, 27, of North Charleston, won with a time of 1:15.43. Olivia Paxton, 16, of Rock Hill finished in 1:26.23. Dave Adams, 32, of Hilton Head Island won the 5K with a time of 16:16, while 12-year-old Sarah Cooke of Hilton Head Island crossed in 19:53.
Race coordinator Mark Weisner said he was happy to have perfect weather and was pleased with how the event went. Runners and supporters alike relaxed at Jarvis Park, eating snacks, listening to live music and cheering on their fellow athletes. It was a day in the sun that many will be eager to repeat next year.