Local runners claim Portland Marathon titles


Khan finishes first by 21 minutes; Gibbs fastest woman

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Kallin Khan and Jamie Gibbs didn’t have far to go to win 26.2-mile Portland Marathon championships on Sunday.

Khan got to run past where he lives at 23rd and West Burnside on the way to victory in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 16.34 seconds. Gibbs had the day off from her sales operations job at Nike in Beaverton.

Khan, 22, formerly of Lisle, Illinois, was a whopping 21 minutes ahead of the runner-up, 21-year-old Kunitaka Imaizumi of Eugene, who finished in 2:46:07.74 on an overcast, dry morning with a temperature of about 50 degrees.

Gibbs, 36, a native of Arvada, Colorado, made it through the relatively flat course in 2:48:07.36. Her closest competitor, Megan Youngren, 28, of Soldotna, Alaska, finished in 2:53:23.36.

Half-marathon titles went to Mark Messmer, 27, of Issaquah, Washington, in 1:06:50.22 and Sarah Reiter, 25, of Portland, in 1:15:30.33.

Roman Kirkov, 26, of Chehalis, Wash., and a former Union High runner in Vancouver, placed second in the men’s half-marathon. He was timed in 1:08:25.24.

The women’s runner-up, former Grant High runner Piper Donaghu, 23, crossed the line in 1:17:11.83.

The races began at 7:10 a.m., and Khan took the marathon lead early. He said everything went according to plan, although he just missed the Olympic Trials qualifying standard of 2:19. He had run 2:22 at Houston in January.

“It didn’t work out today, but I was really happy with my time,” he said. “I started to cramp up over the last few miles, but I was pretty confident. Everyone was telling me I had a big lead, so I wasn’t too worried.”

The software engineer has had a big year since moving here out of the University of Iowa. He hooked up with the Bowerman Track Club. Nine days before the Portland Marathon, he bought an engagement ring, and the next day he proposed on the beach to his now-fiance. His father came from Chicago to watch his Sunday triumph.

Now Khan will go back to training — he runs about 110 miles a week in the Portland area.

“I work from home and have a lot of flexibility for training,” he said.

Gibbs lowered her marathon PR by 10 minutes in only her third try at the distance, over an 11-year span.

 “I ran Hood to Coast and then a half-marathon about a month ago,” she said. “I like the half.”

But she said she might try one more marathon, Boston.

Messmer led Sunday’s half-marathon from the get-go, and missed his PR by about a minute and a half.

“There was a headwind on the backside, and there wasn’t a pack up front to trade the lead with,” he said.

The former University of Montana track and cross country athlete, who grew up in Missoula, said he would drive home to Issaquah after the race and return to his job at a running store as he prepares for the Dec. 8 California International Marathon in Sacramento, California. His best marathon time is 2:33.59.

“I mostly focus on the marathon. I have some big goals there,” he said.

This was the 48th Portland Marathon, but the first under new management, as it was run by Brooksee, a Utah race event company. Oregon Health & Science University was the presenting sponsor.

The course start and finish were at Naito Parkway and Southwest Salmon Street. Runners weaved through downtown, over the Broadway, Burnside and Sellwood bridges, through parts of Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast Portland, going past the Rose Quarter and Reed College, and then into the Central Eastside.

Organizers were aiming to have about 6,000 total entrants, and they’d like the list to reach 20,000 by 2023 and 35,000 by 2030, under Brooksee’s five-year contract with a five-year option with the city of Portland.

Messmer said he enjoyed the course and the crowds.

“There were a lot of people in their neighborhoods, sitting on their deck or in their front yard cheering you on,” he said.

Reiter, who competed for Eastern Washington University, works at Washington Trust in downtown Portland, so she was familiar with the area as well.

“I run down here all the time on my lunch break,” she said.

The half-marathon is more her speed. She did a marathon and said “it was long.”

Her winning time Sunday was a PR by about 40 seconds.

“It was super fun,” Reiter said. “Really pretty, and there were so many people cheering. It was a blast.”

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner

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