Cox, Gruca 1st-time winners at Las Vegas Marathon
LAS VEGAS -- Josh Cox won the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on Sunday and Dorota Gruca took the women's race on her 40th birthday.
Cox, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., completed the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 5 seconds to earn his first Las Vegas title. Steve Dekorker of Seattle was second in 2:31:19.
"The game plan was to get the ball rolling on the back half," Cox said. "I kept the horses in the barn during the first half. I was taking it one mile at a time. I was trying to keep (my pace) under control."
Cox took the lead for good with 3.7 miles to go, passing third-place finisher Stalin Barros of Ecuador, who crossed in 2:31:52.
"When you make your move, you want to make it definitively -- to make it so it hurts the other runner mentality," said Cox, who is training in Arizona to set the 50-kilometer record.
Gruca, a native of Poland who has lived in New Mexico for 12 years, finished in 2:44:31 after taking the lead near the 20-mile mark. She also won in Las Vegas for the first time after placing third five years ago.
"I was trying to keep the same pace the whole time," said Gruca, who placed 30th in the Beijing Olympic marathon competing for Poland. "I just wanted to be finished around the 22-mile mark. It's hard. I'm very happy. I'm just going to celebrate."
Beth Woodward of Orrville, Ohio, took second in 2:59:04 and Beth Walsh of Encinitas, Calif., was third in 2:59:00.
Scott Bauhs won the men's half-marathon in 1:02.39 and Jen Rhines won the women's 13.1-mile race in 1:14.57. Both are from Mammoth Lakes.
More than 28,000 runners began the race in 44-degree temperatures, running along the Las Vegas Strip while about $22,000 of prize money was handed out and rock 'n' roll bands played.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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