It was Sunday, bloody Sunday for Bryan Morseman and Alexandra Niles.
Bleeding from his fingers and knuckles from a burn he suffered on Monday, the 28-year-old Morseman won the Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon in 2:24:24.
The 30-year-old Niles, a former gymnast from Fairfield, N.J., won the women’s division in 2:49:25, then gingerly removed her left shoe to reveal a sock blood-stained from blisters.
All in a day’s work for marathoners.
Morseman took it out hard at the start and won by a comfortable margin, as Paul Allison of Jericho, Vt., was second in 2:31:04.
Morseman has run sub-2:21, and would like to get his time below 2:18 by 2016 in order to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I went right from the start,” Morseman said. “I don’t even know how big my lead was. It’s probably my second marathon where I didn’t wear a watch. It’s like my wife was telling me, I think I slow down and focus more on the watch trying to get to a 5:50 pace. When I get on a hill, I panic and push it more to keep that pace. Today, I went almost the whole way, except for the half, without knowing how fast I was running.”
Morseman ran at Addison High School, SUNY-Cobleskill and Mansfield University in Pennsylvania.
He recently moved to a new house in Bath with his wife, and burned his hand in a minor explosion from the water heater he was working on.
“Pretty crazy week,” Morseman said with a laugh.
The MHR Marathon was Morseman’s 24th, his eighth in 2013 and his second victory in two weeks, after he won a race in Indiana.
He was 24th overall and the 15th American at the New York City Marathon in 2009, and 37th at Chicago in 2010.
“I couldn’t wait to graduate so I could do marathons,” he said.
Without a watch, Morseman maintained a steady pace from Schenectady to the Corning Preserve in Albany and looked comfortable at the finish, his burned hand notwithstanding.
He said the hills in Niskayuna were the only element that prevented a fast time.
“Those hills, you know they’re there,” said Morseman, who works with precious metals at the Corelle plant in Corning. “It’s a fast course, but with those hills, it’s not a smoking-fast course. I never looked back. It’s a mental thing. If you have to look back, something’s not right. I just try to focus on one step at a time.”
That’s a mindset that has served Niles well in marathons, an extreme departure from her days as a balance beam gymnast at James Madison University.
“The only running I did in college was very short, and I hated it,” she said. “It took me a couple years to try the marathon. It’s a crazy distance, but I like it.”
Niles’ time was just over two minutes slower than the course record set by Jennifer Fazioli in 2002.
She was rolling along until there were about eight miles to go.
“The first half was pretty fast,” she said. “I like the course and the downhills. By mile 18, 19, my feet hurt and I was tired, but still, it wasn’t terrible. By the end, I was thinking, ‘Oh, my God, where’s 24? Where’s 25?’
“I don’t know when the bleeding started, but at one point I looked down and said, ‘That might be blood.’ It happens.”
Like Morseman, Niles would like to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials and needs to run a sub-2:43 to accomplish that.
The MHR Marathon was just the fifth of her career, and she said she’s encouraged by her improvement.
The 2:49:25 was a personal record.
“I liked competing. When I stopped doing gymnastics, I started running and figured 5k’s would be easy,” she said. “I was going to do it for fun, and I kept getting faster. My mom convinced me to find a coach, and then it took him another two years to convince me to do a marathon. I’m still not sure it’s a good idea, but it’s my favorite distance.“
Mike Fisher of Brookline, Mass., won the MHR Half Marathon in 1:09:39, and Genna Hartung of Morrisonville was the women’s winner in 1:22:06.
Bryan Morseman (28, Addison), 2:24:24; Paul Allison (27, Jericho, Vt.), 2:31:04; Mike Roda (37, Albany), 2:36:04; Dave Vona (31, Valatie), 2:41:09; Isaiah Leonard (20, Williamstown, Mass.), 2:44:34.
16-24: Owen Strong (21, Fayetteville), 2:46:25; 25-29: Geogffrey Williams (26, Stamford, Conn.), 2:47:27; 30-34: Jan Wellford (31, Keene), 2:49:50; 35-39: Tommy Pyon (36, Flushing), 2:51:19; 40-44: Randall Cannell (41, Broadalbin), 2:49:37; 45-49: Harold Porcher (49, Montclair, N.J.), 2:55:59; 50-54: Eric Zaltas (Montclair, N.J.), 2:59:53; 55-59: Kevin Dollard (58, Hopewell Junction), 3:01:50; 60-64: Aldo Bellon (64, Laval, Que.), 3:37:26; 65-69: Edward Bown (72, Broadalbin), 3:52:02; 75-98: Jack Hanley (77, Babylon), 4:13:39.
Alexandra Niles (30, Fairfield, N.J.), 2:49:25; Nicole Blood (25, Hoboken, N.J.), 2:54:20; Abigail Depperschmidt (29, Fort Collins, Colo.), 2:55:34; Crystal Perno (32, Clifton Park), 3:01:42; Gretchen Oliver (39, Guilderland), 3:02:33.
16-24: Irene Somerville (20, Wynantskill), 3:15:05; 25-29: Megan Digregorio (25, Baltimore), 3:14:37; 30-34: Mary Kate Curran (30, Canton), 3:04:43; 35-39: Anne Kubasiak (36, Averill Park), 3:13:22; 40-44: Jennifer Jankowski (44, Kingston), 3:14:58; 45-49: Christine Varley (49, Albany), 3:24:17; 50-54: Lauri Wilson (51, Charlottesville, Va.), 3:35:31; 55-59: Maureen Fitzgerald (55, Clifton Park), 3:47:01; 60-64: Joan Celentano (60, Schenectady), 3:55:13; 65-69: Susan Wong (65, Glenmont), 4:31:13.
Mike Fisher (29, Brookline, Mass.), 1:09:39; David Saunders (28, New York), 1:09:59; Louis Serafini (22, Brookline, Mass.), 1:11:34; Kyle Stanton (22, Columbia, Md.), 1:12:55; Bradley Lewis (26, Troy), 1:14:39.
Genna Hartung (22, Morrisonville), 1:22:06; Renee Tolan (38, Clifton Park), 1:24:42; Melinda Courage (39, Carbondale, Iowa), 1:25:15; Nicole Soblosky (26, Albany), 1:26:33; Erin Corcoran (39, Schenectady), 1:27:55.