Steve Baugh assumed Aaron Usher didn't show up for yesterday's 28th annual running of the Glass City Marathon.
“I didn't see him anywhere,'' said Baugh, who was one of the pre-race favorites along with Usher.
The University of Toledo graduate who lives in Sylvania found out otherwise at about the 20-mile mark when he surrendered his race-long lead to the Lansing, Mich., resident.
In what can be considered a very unusual ending to any marathon, Usher, 25, ran past Baugh with the aid of a negative split. By posting a better time on the second half of the 26.2 mile course than the first, Usher's overall mark of 2:34.48 earned him top honors in the event which included 568 runners from the U.S. and Canada.
Baugh's runner-up time on the rain-slickened course, which began and ended downtown, was a personal-best 2:41.47.
“If it would have been a short race, I would have had no chance today,'' said Usher, who has degrees from Bowling Green and Michigan State universities and is looking for a job in the insurance industry as an actuary. “I think I went past my peak last week; too much running and not enough rest.
“The first mile I went out too slow [6:45]. The second mile was 10 seconds quicker. The third was 10 seconds quicker. The fourth was 6:05 and I think I was 6:05 or better every mile after that.''
Baugh, like Usher, was competing in just his third marathon. The 36-year-old was impressed with his younger opponent's second-half kick.
“That's nearly impossible,'' said Baugh, a division manager with a home respiratory company. “At the turn, coming back, I didn't know exactly what he looked like, but I had an idea this guy was coming on strong. Somebody actually mentioned to me at about 17 [miles] that this Aaron Usher is coming on.
“I said, ‘Well, if he catches me, I'm not going to be able to respond.' He did. He went by me like I was standing still.''
Baugh's right calf began to hurt at the 17-mile mark, but he said it didn't make any difference in the outcome.
“If I would have been healthy, I would have run maybe three or four minutes faster, but he would have beaten me,'' Baugh said. “He's just a stronger runner.''
Katie Drumm set the tempo in the women's field, leading from start to finish. The 18-year-old from Baltimore, a freshman biology major on the cross-country team at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, completed her inaugural marathon in a time of 3:24.52.
“I was just trying to set realistic goals,'' said Drumm, who had never run more than 20 miles until yesterday. “My first goal starting out was to finish. Then I wanted to qualify for [the] Boston [Marathon].''
She earned the right to run in Massachusetts while finishing more than seven minutes ahead of the runner-up, 31-year-old Liza Mockeridge of Ann Arbor.
Drumm said she normally runs 5Ks and usually finishes between fifth and eighth overall on her college team.
“I was completely relaxed the whole race,'' Drumm said. “One of my teammates ran with me for half the race and we just talked and looked at the gorgeous scenery on the course [which traversed between Toledo, Rossford, Perrysburg and Maumee].''
Contact Dan Saevig at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.