Monday, May 07, 2001

Gallaher misses $5G by 78 seconds

But Sharonville native delights in running with family

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Sharonville native Rebecca Gallaher repeated Sunday as Flying Pig Marathon women's winner, but she couldn't beat herself. Narrowly missing the course record she set last year cost her a $5,000 bonus.

        Not that it bothered her. She relished in her race's family affair, as her husband, Shawn, and sister, Maria Costello, were running their first marathons. Her brother-in-law, Scott Reed, was running his second.

        “It's always great to come home and see my family,” she said. “And it was special because all of us were running it today, and we still had a bunch of family along the course to cheer us on.”

        The 26-year-old Gallaher, a Princeton High graduate, overcame a training lapse and a warm day to win Sunday in 2:50:50, earning the $2,000 first prize. She's 2-for-2 in this race, having won last year on a course-record 2:49:32 on a cool day ideal for running.

        This year, for the first time, race organizers offered a $5,000 bonus for breaking the course record. That she missed the bonus by 78 seconds didn't haunt her. She wasn't even wearing a watch to see if she was in range of the record.

        “I don't run by time,” Gallaher said. “I just tried my best, but I didn't have (the record) in me today.”

        Gallaher lives in Monterey, Calif., where her husband is stationed with the Navy. In the past 16 months, she also lived in Mississippi and Washington. In the latter residency, she won the Seattle Marathon - her only other victory.

        “We'll probably be moving again soon,” she said. “But having been training out on the coast in California, it wasn't as hot (there) as it is today. That made this more of a challenge.”

        Not that one could tell. Gallaher finished 8:36 ahead of runner-up Michelle Pomfrey (2:59:26) of Lakewood, Ohio. Last year, Gallaher finished 12:48 ahead of her closest pursuer.

        “I knew she was way ahead of me,” said Pomfrey, who was making her first visit to Cincinnati. “I was surprised to be this far up (among finishers). The city does a great job with this race.”

        Gallaher banged her left knee on a curb about five weeks ago in a biking accident and had to stop training for a week. She said it kept her from being at her best but that it wasn't painful.

        “The knee was pretty good, but not having a chance to train was tough,” she said. “I also had a lot of self-pressure trying to repeat.”

        Amy Beatty, a 22-year-old from Beavercreek, Ohio, was a surprising third-place finisher (3:01:14) in her first career marathon.

Flying Pig results, photos, stories

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