Thousands turn out for the Two Cities Marathon & Half
The 11-month-old triplets didn’t know it, but they had just completed their first half marathon without breaking a sweat – the only thing they broke was a record.
The two boys and their sister, nicknamed The Triple Viking Clan, looked on as their mother, 36-year-old Ann Marie Cody, hustled the triple-seat stroller through the finish line Sunday at the annual Two Cities Marathon and Half Marathon events in north Fresno. Cody competed in the Fresno half marathon.
The babies were too cute to pass on by the crowds who had lined up to cheer on the race finishers. Cameras and curious eyes quickly surrounded the toddlers. They smiled through it all.
Cody, from Sunnyvale, said she decided to take her babies for a run Sunday in an attempt to break a record for the fastest half marathon run while pushing a triple-seat stroller. She ended up breaking the record previously set by a woman who ran a half marathon in 1 hour and 51 minutes, she said. Her finishing time was an 1 hour, 47 minutes and 59 seconds.
“I’ve always enjoyed running and I was looking for something I could do and the kids could do as well,” Cody said. “I like it, they like it (and) they get to take naps.”
It will be a while until Cody and her babies are officially listed as world record holders. She said she will need to send documentation and proof of the achievement to Guinness World Records so they can official recognize her. For now, the sweat, the half marathon medal and the countless images of her babies at the finish line are the only proof.
Cody and the triplets were among the estimated 3,500 runners who took part Sunday in the racing and walking events. It was the 15th anniversary of the Clovis and Fresno half marathons. Runners who ran the full marathon did so in its 10th year.
Winning that 10th marathon and taking home a $750 prize was Ivan Medina, 31, of Hayward. He finished seconds ahead of local favorite Jesus Campos. During the last mile, Medina said he patiently caught up to a surging Campos. And through cramps on both legs, he too stepped up his race until the moment he crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours and 32 minutes.
“I never gave up and if you never give up and you always fight through the end, great things can happen and today that happened,” Medina said. Michele Van Ornum, who turns 49 on Monday, won the women’s marathon race. Van Ornum, director of Creative Minds Learning Center in Fresno, said she has been a part of the annual races every year but this was the first time she has won.
There were other firsts to be celebrated at the end of the races, including for Bullard High School senior Ricky Flores. The 18-year-old was the first to finish the inaugural 5K run Sunday. He ran it in a time of 17 minutes and 58 seconds. Kira Vollberg, 11, won the 5K for the females with a time of 21 minutes and 16 seconds.
And for Fresno resident Germay Tesfai, 25, it was the first time he ever competed in a Two Cities Marathon and Half Marathon event. He came first in the Clovis half marathon race at 1 hour and 13 minutes.
The Fresno City College grad, who later ran distance at California State University, Chico, said he raced after focusing on fitness training to get back into shape after college.
“I guess it shows today I’m doing good,” he said.
Exeter resident, and a well-known competitor, Allison Gonzales, 27, finished first for the women in the Clovis half marathon with 1 hour and 19 minutes. She said the only challenge she faced in the race was the wind, which had blown since the beginning of the race.
“If the wind would have been dead,” she said, “I might have ran a little faster.”
In the Fresno half marathon, Avenal resident Gabriel Collazo (1 hour and 18 minutes) took the win for the men. Shannon Parkinson (1 hour and 29 minutes), of Kingsburg, took the win for the women in the same race.