Engle wins his seventh Crazy Jimmy’s marathon

n Leah Thorvilson of Little Rock shatters women’s record.

BY GENE PHELPS

Daily Journal

Chuck Engle trailed the leader at the halfway point in Sunday’s 25th anniversary Crazy Jimmy’s Tupelo Marathon.

Todd Hagadone, 23, of Mount Salon, Va., had a nearly 4-minute edge over Engle, the 37-year-old marathon machine from Salt Lake City.

“He was running sub-6s early,” Engle said. “It was too hot to run sub-6s that soon. I asked him, How many of these have you done?’ He told me this was his first.”

Engle, who ran a marathon Saturday in Idaho and runs another today in Missouri, could only smile. He eventually ran away from Hagadone and the field to win his seventh Tupelo 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 47 minutes, 15 seconds.

“I could see that (Hagadone’s) stride was long, but his feet looked heavy,” Engle said. “I didn’t want to lose today, not in the 25th anniversary run. I started hammering out sub-6s.”

Plantersville’s Israel Malendez captured second in 2:55:01 while Ocean Springs’ Leonard Vergunst was third in 2:55:29. Hagadone did not finish in the top 24.

In the women’s marathon, Little Rock’s Leah Thorvilson, 29, shattered the course record with her 2:53:22 clocking. The old mark was 2:59.36.

Much like Engle, Thorvilson trailed in the early going.

“I saw her at the halfway point and knew I had to go for it,” she said. “Once I locked into a pace, I never looked back.”

Thorvilson, who is training for the Chicago Marathon, was shocked by her time, especially running in the heat.

“Typically, I don’t run well in heat,” she said. “It was probably a little too much for me. It will probably hurt me for Chicago, but I had a good time. They’ve got a great course and the T-shirt is my favorite.”

All runners who finish the marathon and 14.2-miler receive a shirt with the race’s signature skull and crossed bones design.

Engle was impressed by Thorvilson’s time.

“I’m humbled by it … and in this heat,” he said. “That’s unbelievable.”

Laura Wells of Sterrett, Ala., placed second in 3:04:33 while Sandy Lynch of Florence, Ala., was third in 3:27:23.

In the 14.2-mile race, Ian McFarland of Columbus won the male title in 1:25:45 while Rebecca Jordan of Brewton, Ala., was the female champion in 1:39.10.