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Grandma's Marathon: Barno, Taylor make headlines

Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com Kellyn Taylor of Flagstaff, Ariz., crosses the finish line of Grandma's Marathon in Canal Park on Saturday morning. Taylor ran an event record with a time of 2:24:28. 1 / 3
Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com Kenyan Elisha Barno takes a commanding lead just north of the Lester River en route to winning his fourth Grandma's Marathon in a row. 2 / 3
Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com Anna Staats of Lexington Park, Md., runs toward Knife River during Grandma's Marathon on Saturday. 3 / 3

On a day when weather didn’t make headlines at Grandma’s Marathon, it was the winners who were in the spotlight at Minnesota’s oldest marathon.

Kenyan Elisha Barno became the first four-time men’s winner and American Kellyn Taylor smashed the women’s event record time Saturday in the 42nd annual 26.2-mile race from Two Harbors to Canal Park in Duluth.

Barno, 32, who runs out of Santa Fe, N.M., reeled off the final 11 miles of the race by himself, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 6 seconds.

Barno, who won the previous three Grandma’s Marathons, threatened to break Dominic Ondoro’s record of 2:09:06 set in 2014 before settling for the third-best time in Grandma’s history.

Taylor, a Wisconsin native who lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., broke Sarah Kiptoo’s race record of 2:26:32 set in 2013 by more than two minutes, winning in 2:24:28.

Taylor’s previous personal-best time was 2:28:40 in the 2015 Houston Marathon.

In other races: Aaron Pike of Champaign, Ill., repeated as men’s wheelchair champion in 1:26:48. He broke away from runner-up Juan Ramos of Venezuela at Lemon Drop Hill at about 22 miles and sprinted the rest of the way to the finish.

Susannah Scaroni of Urbana, Ill., won her second Grandma’s Marathon women’s wheelchair race, finishing in 1:37:32. She also won in 2014.

While 1996 Duluth East graduate Kara Goucher’s return to competition was the pre-race storyline of the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, Kenya’s Monicah Ngige, 24, captured the women’s title in 1:09.55, missing out on breaking Goucher’s race record set in 2012 by 10 seconds.

Goucher, running competitively for the first time since the 2017 Bjorklund, finished 21st in 1:18:15.

In the men’s half, Kenyan Panuel Mkungo won easily in 1:02:50. The 24-year-old who trains in Elkton, Md., was running in Duluth for the first time.

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