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Tammy Lyberg, a college freshman from Michigan, refused to let high winds, snow, and sleet get her down yesterday morning as she set off on a 26.2-mile run along the Maumee River in her first marathon.
Her effort was rewarded exactly 3 hours, 16 minutes, and 9 seconds later when she crossed the finish line in Promenade Park near the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Toledo - as the overall female winner of the 2008 Glass City Marathon.
"This is my first marathon [and] I am feeling great," Miss Lyberg, 19, said over loud cheers from more than 100 onlookers seconds after crossing the finish line.
The weather could definitely be better, she said minutes later as she was thawing out in a hotel lobby.
"But I figured, 'I signed up for it, I trained for four months, I paid [about $50] for it, I traveled three hours to get here, so I'm going to run," she said.
One of about 350 individual full-distance runners, Miss Lyberg ran from the hotel, along the west side of the Maumee River, to the Perrysburg-Maumee Bridge, across the bridge, and back - 13.1 miles each way.
As she was crossing the finish line about 11:15 a.m., the temperature was about 35 degrees and wind gusts reached 20-25 mph, event organizers said.
The Grand Valley State University pre-pharmacy freshman was one of about a thousand people who braved the adverse weather to take part in the event organized by the Toledo Roadrunners Club. In addition to the 350 who ran the full distance, 160 people ran 13.1 miles each in two-member teams, 80 five-member teams ran a combination of miles to equal the full 26.2 miles, and about 150 people ran a 5K distance.
It was the 13.1-mile run back from the bridge that was especially punishing because of strong headwinds, said Edward O'Reilly, 54, of Maumee, race director for the Toledo Roadrunners Club.
Rick Straughen, 27, of Shelby Township, Mich., agreed. A member of the Front Line Racing Team from the metro-Detroit area, he finished first in the five-member relay category.
"The wind was the toughest [weather factor], strong headwind and sleet," Mr. Straughen said. "But our team did really well despite the weather."
The overall marathon winner with the time of 2 hours, 38 minutes, and 45 seconds was Paul Riley of Madison, Wis.
"I am just happy," said Mr. Riley, 26, a geology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, who reached for a glass of hot chocolate minutes after finishing the race.
"Coming back [from the bridge], it was a little bit on the rough side, with snow and this wind," he said.
He said he'd taken second and third places running marathons, but this was his first win and also the first time he ran in the Glass City Marathon.
His fiancee, Bryn Benford, shared his happiness but said they had no time to celebrate.
"This is great, especially with the weather," Miss Benford, 25, a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin, said of the win.
"We're going back to Wisconsin right away because I have school tomorrow," she added. "It'll be a good ride back."
The event was the 32nd annual Glass City Marathon and included a marathon, team relays, and a 5K race. Special children's races took place at the same location late Saturday afternoon.
Contact Mike Sigov at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6074.