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Running the course: Gate City Striders host fifth consecutive marathon

NASHUA – A marathon is a big endeavor, a feat of endurance, a test of will. Sunday morning, hundreds of athletes from across the country and around the globe competed on the brand new Gate City Marathon, Relay and Half Marathon course – a Gate City Striders’ signature event.

“Today was practicing for fluency and getting in a good effort,” Ryan Smith of Farmington, Maine said after finishing the race with a new course record while taking first place in the Men’s Full Marathon.

Smith, who was able to beat not only the rest of the runners – but also the rain fall that started a little bit after 10 a.m., said he enjoyed the course and hopes that it continues to bring runners to the city to participate.

“I recommend Gate City for runners who are looking for a good marathon,” Smith said, “it’s hard to find good weather marathons this time in New England, and ones that are this fast. So I hope that it keeps going because it was fun.”

With the stampede of runners making their way through a freshly designed course, which looped through the starting and finishing lines just south of City Hall multiple times, athletes tested their wills. Helping runners navigate the course where over 250 volunteers, handing out water, wet sponges, and keeping track clear and easily accessible to emergency personnel, in the event of a medical emergency.

The director of the Gate City Striders Mark Furler said the community’s impact on the race shown through with so many sponsors right down Main Street, and throughout the city, making it possible for the Striders to continue to run the event.

Furler also said that this year’s course was designed to take up less space throughout the city as the old course.

“We tried to flatten the course a little bit, make it a little simpler,” Furler said, “and shrink the footprint of the course on the city this year.”

Finishing first in the Men’s Full Marathon category was Ryan Smith, with a time of 2:30:14.3 hours. Smith was followed by Ryan Gallagher at 2:49:36.6 hours, and Daniel Maas who completed the 26.2 mile course in 2:59:19.1 hours, securing a third-place victory.

In the Women’s Full Marathon, Tracy Deeter came in first at 2:59:17.4 hours, followed by Viviana Hanley, who finished in 3:10:28.2. Bethany Fordham took third with a 3:22:27.5 completion time.

The top three half marathon winners for the men were, in their respective order, Jaidiby Zapata, Andrew Erickson and Joshua Perks. The top women to complete the half marathon were Allison Letourneau, finishing in first-place with a time of 1:33:33.2. Kato Cavallaro took second-place, finishing the 13.1 mile course in 1:35:55.5. Susanne Carpenter earned third-place with a time of 1:39:29.2.

A heroic effort by a team, using ‘The Justice League’ as their moniker, secured first-place in the relay component of Sunday’s event with a time of 3:07:02.9. Second-place went to Altitude Physical Therapy NH, which completed with a time of 3:11:40.9, while ‘Mainely Runners’ secured third-place.

The Gate City Marathon, which started in 2015, has been the Gate City Striders largest event since its inception. Runners from all from near and far compete in the event, which serves as one of the first qualifiers for next year’­s Boston Marathon.

“I feel awful, but at the same time great,” said Ryan Gallagher, who finished the race after Smith and was able to ring the qualifying bell, actually pulling it off in excitement upon finishing, “I just qualified for Boston, so that’s a big plus. They’ve got to tie that bell on tighter, it was real good ringing. A real good feeling.”

For more race results visit http://www.gcsmarathon.org/awards.html.