Metro Detroiters are top marathon finishers

Christine Ferretti Lauren Abdel-Razzaq
The Detroit News

Detroit — Winding down from his first marathon run, Adam Maddock reflected Sunday on the unique scenery and support along the international race route.

Mike Andersen from Walled Lake crosses the finish line in 1st place of the full marathon during the 2014 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon Sunday in downtown Detroit.

The 39-year-old Grosse Pointe Park resident says he ramped up his training in July and it paid off: he came in around 3:23, beating his goal time of 3:30.

"The whole course is beautiful and people were coming out and cheering you on," said Maddock, who wore a green number tag that identified to spectators and participants that it was his first run. "I had a good experience and think I would like to do another one."

Maddock was among 27,389 participants registered for the weekend races in the 37th Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. The turnout made it a record year for the event, says Executive Race Director Barbara Bennage.

The race drew runners from 48 states and 19 different countries, but top finishers in the marathon were Metro Detroiters, Bennage said.

Courtney Brewis was the first to cross the finish line of the full marathon during the 2014 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon

Courtney Brewis, a 23-year-old Dearborn resident, was the first woman to cross the finish line for the full marathon, coming in at 2:45:52. For the men, it was Michael Andersen, 27, of Walled Lake. His 1st place time was 2:24:54.

This year, 5,500 runners registered for the full marathon, up from 4,000 last year. The race kicked off at 7 a.m. at the corner of Fort Street and Second Avenue, before traversing through historic neighborhoods, around Belle Isle, along the RiverWalk and into Windsor via both the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

An estimated 50,000 spectators were anticipated for the festivities, organizers said.

"Our course is great, Detroit is great and its bringing in a lot of people," Bennage said. "Our staff, volunteers and committee put a lot of effort into bettering it every year. It's like a well-oiled machine."

Traffic and crowds from the race as well as tailgating associated with Sunday's 1 p.m. Detroit Lion's game led to some frustrations and delays downtown. But Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said the department has officers out in full-force directing drivers and working to move cars along as best as possible.

As of Sunday afternoon, Woody said there hadn't been any arrests or major traffic incidents.

"Every year it's a challenge when it comes to this event," Woody said of managing multiple simultaneous major events. "We do our best to let everybody know what's happening in advance. It's just one of those situations that you have hundreds of thousands of people all converging on one location."

"We often ask people to pack patience and plan way ahead on taking additional time for getting in and out of the city," he added. "Our officers are doing their best to get you in and out as quickly and safely as we can. There are some hurdles we just can't get around."

Woody also noted an increase in participation for this year's event.

"The marathon is picking up some momentum," he said. "People feel safe, they feel good about the route and they feel encouraged. It's a different time in Detroit. Everybody has a good vibe. They want to come down and partake in what's really going on down here."

Commerce Township resident Harold Woods took part in the international half-marathon. Woods, a veteran of the event, has participated in Detroit's races for 18 years. He previously earned the first place spot in the half-marathon race/walk, he said.

Runners start the 2014 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon Sunday October 19, 2014 in downtown Detroit.

This year, Woods, 48, says the event is about socializing and enjoying the view.

"I love going over the bridge and through the tunnel. I get to see all my friends," said Woods, an engineer, who belongs to the Dearborn-based Ford Runners Club. "You get to come out and have fun."

The traditional marathon race has expanded in recent years adding other events, including a U.S.-only half-marathon, the international half-marathon, and a division race with the Michigan chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. A 5K run and a one-mile kids run were held Saturday at the Detroit RiverWalk.

The Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon has been run every October since 1978 and is the only one in North America to feature two international border crossings, one of which being the underwater Detroit Windsor tunnel.

Niranjan Dea, 49, returned to Detroit from New Jersey to participate for the second time in the half-marathon race.

Dea said he came in at 2:03 and almost met his personal goal.

"It was awesome," Dea said, noting this was his first time taking part in the international race.

Dea raced alongside West Bloomfield resident Vivk Mohile, 57.

"People were so nice on both sides of the border," added Mohile, who says the half-marathon race was his third. "I only do Detroit's (race). I love coming to the city. It was perfect."

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