Fast Times Aplenty at AACR Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Ritchie, Krifchin set personal records to win 38th edition of historic U.S. half-marathon; 18,500 entrants at Halloween running celebration

Many people win races by breaking the tape with their chest, but not 28-year-old Timothy Ritchie. The Brighton, Massachusetts resident took down the finish tape at the American Association for Cancer Research Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on Saturday morning with a confident punch that resembled the famous fictional boxer, Rocky, at the steps of the city’s iconic Art Museum.

10312015_RocknRollMarathon-89711At the 38th edition, Ritchie’s finish time for the 13.1-mile race, 1 hour, 1 minute, and 22 seconds, was a personal record by 38 seconds. His victory on Saturday was a commanding one as he ran nearly 9 of the 13 miles unchallenged. One of the pre-race favorites, Bobby Curtis, dropped out after leading the race for the first 3 miles.

From that point, eventual runner-up, Jake Riley, and Ritchie ran side-by-side for one more mile and then Ritchie found a gear that Riley didn’t have and took off down Kelly Drive at warp speed. Ritchie ran relaxed and confident the rest of the way as he wound along the beautiful Schuylkill River with its brilliant fall foliage in full display.

Riley, who lives in Rochester, Michigan, ended up coming in second, clocking 1:03:23. Third place was awarded to 29-year-old Daniel Tapia (1:03:54).

“The race felt great,” Ritchie said afterwards while draped in an enormous American flag. “It was a big PR for me. I know a lot of the guys racing today and it was fun to be going for PRs with them.”

Ritchie had owned a 1:02:00 half-marathon PR prior to Saturday’s race and said he was confident that he could take that mark down in Philadelphia. “I felt fit, but I don’t really race for time. I race to win,” he said.

Ritchie divulged that he knew rival Bobby Curtis, who is coming back from a hamstring injury, was going to drop out beforehand. “Going into the race I expected to work with Bobby up in the front, but I had a chat with him before the start and found out that he wasn’t going to stay in. It was good to have that intel,” he said with a chuckle.

But racing aside, Ritchie said he was thrilled to be running at the Rock ‘n’ Roll race. “It’s such a great course. It’s really beautiful. You couldn’t ask for a better day. The fans were fun and the bands were great.”

The woman’s race was equally fast with Maegan Krifchin of Silver Spring, Maryland, breaking the tape in 1:09:50—more than a full minute faster than her previous PR of 1:10:56 from three years ago at the USA Half Marathon Championships.

“Today was all about being aggressive and competing,” the 27-year-old said. “I wanted to race like a champion and I think I succeeded. I wanted to push it the whole way. The course and the conditions were just perfect.”

Krifchin’s nearest competitor was Neely Spence Gracey, who finished second, 8 seconds behind in 1:09:58. Third place went to 33-year-old Alisha Williams in 1:10:31.

Along with the race champions many elites came across the finish line with big smiles on their faces thanks to running U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials 2016 qualifying times (1:05:00 for the men and 1:15:00 for the women). Overall, 23 men and 19 women ran times fast enough on Saturday morning to qualify for the race that will decide the three coveted Team USA slots for Rio next year.

Saturday’s race took place on Halloween and the majority of participants were dressed for the occasion, wearing wigs and costumes. Taking to the stage at Eakins Oval was the famous 90s band Gin Blossoms who got the finish-medal-wearing runners and their family members to their feet with their top song “Hey Jealousy.”

Next year the event returns to its historical mid-September date of September 18, 2016 and special presale registration is open through Friday.

For complete results, photos and more, visit RunRocknRoll.com/Philadelphia.

Name, Age, Hometown, Time

Men’s Half Marathon

  1. Timothy Ritchie, 28, Brighton, MA, 1:01:22
  2. Jake Riley, 27, Rochester, MI, 1:03:23
  3. Daniel Tapia, 29, Mammoth, CA, 1:03:54
  4. Ben Bruce, 33, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:04:08
  5. Tom Anderson, 25, Indianapolis, IN, 1:04:10
  6. Chris Kwiatkowski, 26, Arlington, VA, 1:04:10
  7. Kiya Dandana, 26, Houston, TX, 1:04:15
  8. John Raneri, 24, New Fairfield, CT, 1:04:26
  9. Ty McCormack, 23, Orlando, FL, 1:04:27
  10. Carlos Jamieson, 28, Washington DC, 1:04:27
  11. Matt Fischer, 23, Brighton, MA, 1:04:28
  12. Jovanny Rodriguez, 24, Hayward, CA, 1:04:29
  13. Louis Serafini, 24, Brighton, MA, 1:04:31
  14. Stephen Kersh, 24, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:04:36
  15. Brogan Austin, 24, Madison, WI, 1:04:37
  16. Matt Gillette, 24, Shippensburg, PA, 1:04:38
  17. Sam Morse, 32, Camden, NY, 1:04:38
  18. Kieran O’Conor, 28, Arlington, VA, 1:04:38
  19. Alex Monroe, 23, Lyons, CO, 1:04:41
  20. Mark Pinales, 22, Round Rock, TX, 1:04:45
  21. Bo Waggoner, 26, Cambridge, MA, 1:04:49
  22. Rory Tunningley, 25, Austin, TX, 1:04:51
  23. John Bleday, 24, Brighton, MA, 1:04:57
  24. Matthew Sonnenfeldt, 24, Johnson City, TN, 1:04:58

Women’s Half Marathon

  1. Maegan Krifchin, 27, Silver Spring, MD, 1:09:50
  2. Neely Spence Gracey, 25, Louisville, CO, 1:09:58
  3. Alisha Williams, 33, Golden, CO, 1:10:31
  4. Kellyn Taylor, 29, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:10:59
  5. Brianne Nelson, 35, Golden, CO, 1:11:53
  6. Anjie Orjuela, 26, Columbia, 1:12:20
  7. Adriana Nelson, 35, Boulder, CO, 1:12:35
  8. Mattie Suver, 28, Colorado Springs, CO, 1:12:36
  9. Marta Mekonen, 25, Silver Spring, MD, 1:12:37
  10. Jen Rhines, 41, Boston, MA, 1:12:45
  11. Katie Di Camillo, 28, Providence, RI, 1:12:48
  12. Dot McMahan, 38, Rochester, MI, 1:13:12
  13. Laura Batterink, 30, Evanston, IL, 1:13:13
  14. Tina Muir, 27, Great Britain, 1:13:21
  15. Hillary Montgomery, 22, College Station, TX, 1:13:35
  16. Kristin Swisher, 32, Boulder, CO, 1:13:43
  17. Susanna Sullivan, 25, Falls Church, VA, 1:13:49
  18. Bridget Lyons, 27, Atlanta, GA, 1:13:49
  19. Joanna Thompson, 23, Raleigh, NC, 1:14:08
  20. Jen Rock, 25, Macomb, MI, 1:14:36
  21. Melanie Brender, 23, Rochester, MI, 1:14:38