Tulsa, OKLA.-- When runners laced up their shoes at the start line of this year's Williams Route 66 Marathon presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, they didn't know it would be a year of smashing records.
The year of "firsts" started when Ada, Okla.'s Ken Lewis crossed the finish line as the official winner of the wheelchair division. Riding a high-end hand crank bike, he finished the race in under two hours. This is the first time an athlete in the wheelchair division has been the first marathoner across the finish.
“All I can say is it’s a great event,” said Lewis. “Volunteer, police and neighborhood support was amazing.”
But Lewis wasn’t the only marathoner making 2017 a historic year for the race. Rafael Lencina traveled from Argentina to participate in the Tulsa race and become the first male marathoner without a wheelchair to cross the finish line.
“It is such an honor to be part of Lencina’s victory,” said Kim Hann, assistant executive director. “Victories like this are one of the many reasons the marathon helps put Tulsa on the map.”
Amie Smith from Austin, Texas was the female marathon winner, completing the race in 03:10:31. This was her first time running the Route 66 Marathon.
“I feel amazing after finishing,” said Smith. “There were more hills than I expected. It was definitely a challenge!”
This year isn’t just about runner victories. The title sponsor of the marathon, Williams, announced they will continue to sponsor the Route 66 Marathon for three more years. The announcement is symbolic of their continued commitment to Tulsa.
“Once again, the Williams Route 66 Marathon has exceeded our expectations as the title sponsor,” said Tim Colwell, Tulsa outreach business partner at Williams. “Over the years this event has grown in numbers and popularity and we are thrilled to continue our involvement through 2020.”
The Williams Route 66 Marathon presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma brought nearly 15,000 participants from 12 countries and all 50 states to Tulsa. The weekend kicked off with the largest health, fitness and sustainability expo in Northeastern Oklahoma on November 17. The first race events were held November 18 starting with a 5K. In fact, marathon winner Rafael Lencina was also the first male to finish the 5K; Lencina completed the 5K in 00:16:56. April Shroff was the first female 5K finisher at 00:21:11. The 5K was followed by a one-mile fun run and crowd favorite mascot dash.
Photo by Chris Barnes, DC, tulsasportsdoctor.com
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