Local Boston Marathon finishers -- including marriage proposal on Heartbreak Hill

The Fresno BeeApril 21, 2014 

John Volkman kisses Jodi Nili after he proposed to her at the top of Heartbreak Hill while running the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, 2014.


John Volkman ran his 16th Boston Marathon on Monday -- the most of any Fresno runner -- and he made it a special one, proposing to girlfriend Jodi Nili at the top of Heartbreak Hill.

"I could hardly wait to get to the top," said Volkman, who surpassing the mark of 15 Boston Marathons run by Juan Sobenes and Dick Rozier of Fresno.

"Heartbreak Hill never seemed so easy. Of the 16 times up Heartbreak Hill, this was the most rewarding. It was pretty amazing."

A cousin, John Duncan of Connecticut, held the ring at Heartbreak Hill until Volkman reached the top and got down on one knee to a completely surprised Nili.

She said yes.

Madera's Benjamin Madrigal, 27, had the best race time out of all the runners from the central San Joaquin Valley, finishing 188th overall (165th among men) with a time of 2 hours, 35 minutes, 15 seconds. That's a pace of 5:56 per mile.

Chris Herren, the former Fresno State basketball star, completed his first marathon in 6:17 after training just 10 weeks, according to a report. Fox Sports also reported Herren and his foundation, The Herren Project, raised nearly $60,000 for their cause of educating people about addiction and sobriety.

Other Valley finishers:

** Ahwahnee: David Miller, 3:21:48, 6,891st overall.

** Bakersfield: David Plyler, 2:59:12, 2,192; Jonathan Wykoff, 3:01:20, 2,578; Jose Montelongo Jr., 3:15:03, 5,292; Michael Brazzell, 3:15:11, 5,327; Noel Velasco, 3:22:48, 7,146; Ryan Lucker, 3:31:32, 9,775; Pamela Plyler, 5:01:57 27,412.

** Clovis: Steven Monke, 3:23:28, 7,351; Mark Dorman, 3:38:37, 11,979; Audrey Monke, 4:06:42, 19,438.

** Fresno: J.K. Lundberg, 3:14:45, 5,222; Tracy Coke, 3:28:56, 8,976; Amanda Whitten, 3:38:36, 11,975; Susan Bonds, 3:51:11 15,626; Brad Castillo, 4:16:22, 21,208; Rudy Montoya, 4:17:58, 21,479; Shelly Montoya, 4:17:58, 21,480; John Volkman, 4:18:11, 21,529; Suzanne Sobenes, 4:56:51, 11,713; Jim Wagoner (pushing son Colby), 6:33:16, 31,637.

** Hanford: Yvonne Jessup, 3:41:59, 13,023; Robert Ramirez Jr., 4:44:53, 25,473; Daniel Quinn, 4:50:32, 26,195.

** Madera: Benjamin Madrigal, 2:35:15, 188.

** McFarland: Luz Bravo-Rios, 3:53:28, 16,237.

** Merced: James Bond Sr., 3:10:02, 4,149.

** Sanger: Phillip Gonzalez, 3:37:15, 11,544.

** Visalia: Matt Stovall, 3:11:58, 4,548; Albert Chaves, 3:23:16, 7,309; Brittani Snyder, 3:34:04, 10,564; Al Morales, 3:42:20, 13,116; Jacqueline Gaebe, 3:42:32, 13,171; Rebecca Bodensteiner, 3:49:48, 15,245; Charaighn Sesock, 3:55:52, 16,963; Michael Bauman, 4:06:50, 19,460; Dan Maxey, 4:22:35, 22,274; Sally Lovejoy, 4:37:09, 24,434.

The reporter can be reached at amoreno@fresnobee.com or @anhelllll on Twitter.

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