Jesus Campos, the four-time Two Cities Marathon winner, fell just short of his fifth title for the second year in a row Sunday. But his spirits weren’t down as his sister, Irene Campos, made him proud by running a personal-best in 3 hours, 47 minutes and 4 seconds.
Campos ran the marathon in 2:30:44, 36 seconds behind champion Peter Kemboi Chemaoy (2:30:08), of Kenya.
Chemaoy, who now lives in Newport, Ky., had a mile pace of 5:44 – two seconds faster than Campos’ pace – to capture the $1,000 grand prize. Montana’s Cesar Mireles finished third in 2:36:31.
The three broke away from the rest of the pack and exchanged short-lived leads, carrying each other through the first 18 miles before Mireles slipped behind.
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Chemaoy, 36, said he had little difficulty along the course, pacing with Campos and Mireles.
Mireles, 19, has more than two dozen wins under his belt.
In the women’s race, Virginia’s Emily Fertig won in 3:17:15 to claim the $1,000 prize. Adriana Chaves, of Santa Cruz, was second (3:21:16) with Briton Natalie Craven third (3:23:03).
Second- and third-place marathon finishers in the men’s and women’s races also took home prizes of $600 and $400, respectively.
In all, more than 3,300 people took to the streets for the Two Cities Marathon & Half on a pleasant, but warm, morning in north Fresno.
Spectators lined the race routes in Fresno and Clovis, with thousands more crowded at the finish line inside Woodward Park.
Hundreds of volunteers helped put on the annual event, which went smoothly, according to race director Nate Moore.
A few noticeable changes this year were the absence of the giant American flag that athletes run under after the starting line and a better organized Shepherd Avenue that eased congestion for marathoners.
“I think this year was great,” Moore said. “The community involvement is insane. The amount of support we have for this race is incredible. It’s crazy how many people help to put this race on, volunteers and everything.”
It’s so much help that those running in the race hardly notice what’s happening behind the scenes, Moore said.
“They might not know how it happens, but it’s all because of these wonderful people.”
Seth Marzolf, the Sanger High cross country coach, was the first person to cross the finish line on Sunday, winning the Clovis Half men’s title in 1:12:36. Exeter’s Allison Gonzales was the women’s winner in 1:22:14.
In the Fresno Half, Dallas Nord (1:21:21) claimed the men’s title and Elisa Angulo won the women’s in 1:32:29.
Fowler’s Estella Romero won the Fresno Half walk in 2:10:20 as Juan Carlos Sanchez, of Clovis, won the men’s race in 2:24:28.
Full results can be found at www.twocitiesmarathon.com.