Though pleased she had made history Friday, Olga Appell wasn't totally satisfied after winning the Deseret News/Granite Furniture marathon.
The first runner ever to win both a 10K and marathon race in the annual July 24 event wanted to do so in record time - same as she did at the shorter distance in 1995 (30 minutes, 55 seconds)."I'm real excited. It's always going to be in the books, but I'm disappointed I didn't get the record," Appell said after completing the grueling 26.2-mile course in 2:47.27 - 52 seconds off Jane Wipf's record-setting time in 1980. `I knew I had a chance, but the last 10K I missed it."
Even so, Appell finished almost eight minutes ahead of her closest competitor. Defending champion Michelle Simonaitis, whose husband Dennis won the men's marathon, was second at 2:55.04. Cheryl Harper placed third at 3:02.53.
Simonaitis had hoped to repeat, but she acknowledged Appell was a class above the field. The winner is a former Olympian who is gearing toward the U.S. Trials in the marathon.
"She was not even within sight. By mile 16, I knew I was running for second," Simonaitis said. "I don't mind. Olga's a great runner. I'm happy for second."
Appell never trailed in the race that began shortly after 5 a.m. and wound its way down Emigration Canyon through Salt Lake City to Liberty Park. At 65 degrees, the race-time temperature was the coolest in years, but overnight rains helped keep humidity around 85 percent.
"It was real beautiful, one of the most beautiful courses I've ever run," Appell said. "I felt very good the whole course."
The 39-year-old Roy resident, who was cheered on to victory by husband, Brian, and daughter Monique, said the decision to run the longer race this Pioneer Day was not a difficult one.
"I wanted to run this marathon because my best event is the marathon," she said.