Tucson Marathon: Men's champ fills log with another win

2012-12-10T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T09:03:17Z Tucson Marathon: Men's champ fills log with another winMichael J. Craven Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Not long after crossing the finish line first in Sunday's Tucson Marathon, 27-year old Gary Krugger was asked if this was his first marathon victory.

He laughed.

"This is my 22nd win," he said.

A shocked reporter then asked the next logical question: Well, how many have you been in?

Krugger thought about it. "Well," he said, "between marathons and ultras (ultramarathons are often 50 miles), this makes 199.

"Yeah, I'm not very smart," he joked.

The Flagstaff resident, Pennsylvania native and apparent rapid recovery specialist finished the Tucson course in a personal record 2 hours 32 minutes 2 seconds, which was 3 1/2 minutes quicker than last year's winner and only 7 minutes off the course record.

Krugger, who finished the same race in fourth place last December, came through the shoot 12 seconds ahead of 34-year old Derek Delancey from Gilbert.

"I knew (the Tucson Marathon) course was fast, so I thought I could get a best time," Krugger said, downing his third post-race can of Pepsi. "And I thought I had a chance at winning," he added.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Krugger's résumé is that he's averaged more than 30 marathons each year since starting to run them six years ago at the age of 21. His previous win came just four weeks ago at the Rim Rock Marathon in Fruita, Colo.

Hearing the number of marathons Krugger has competed in made Heather Utrata, the women's winner on Sunday, cringe.

"Just thinking about that makes every part of my body hurt," she said.

But the 30-year-old Utrata has an interesting résumé herself, despite being somewhat new to the marathon scene. Sunday's race was only the eighth she'd ever entered, the sixth she'd actually finished and, after a time of 2:41:36, her fourth victory.

She started marathons at 27, training out of Boulder, Colo. (She lives about 40 minutes away in Englewood.)

Her first time to the Old Pueblo, she'd have a preferred a longer visit.

"It's gorgeous here," she said. "I'm so sad. My plane leaves really soon here, and I wish I could stay and check it out."

The race began in the town of Oracle and mostly ran along North Oracle Road south through Catalina. It finished up at Coronado K-8 School.

Like many first-timers, Utrata found the course - advertised as downhill - to be a bit deceiving.

"I think you have to really realize that just because there's no elevation gain, doesn't mean there aren't hills in there," she said.

This year's only real departure from the norm was the starting time, which event organizers moved up 30 minutes to 7 a.m., with the idea being to combat heat once the sun rose.

That was a move Krugger described as "lame," stating, "I hate cold starts," although this one didn't seem to affect him much.

Krugger led for the majority, surviving Delancey's late push.

"I was trying to hold what I could toward the end there," Krugger said. "It's fast, but it does beat you up a little."

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest Sports Video

More videos

Sean Miller, Johnson, McConnell discuss win over Kansas State

Sean Miller, Stanley Johnson and T.J. McConnell recap No. 3 Arizona's 72-68 win over Kansas State to advanc…


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...