Running on to Boston

Runners competed in the Walla Walla Marathon on Sunday, with some trying to qualify for the Boston race.

Nathan Hult, from WIlsonville, Ore. lines up to start the Walla Walla Marathon. Hult won the race with a time of 3:04:03.

Nathan Hult, from WIlsonville, Ore. lines up to start the Walla Walla Marathon. Hult won the race with a time of 3:04:03. Photo by Alfred Diaz.

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WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla Marathon raced off to almost perfect fall running weather Sunday, with 347 marathon, half-marathon and 10K runners competing in the cool overcast morning skies.

This year’s winner was Nathan Hult of Wilsonville, Ore., with a time of 3:04:03.

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Women's marathon winner Walburga Martin of Prosser, Wash.

About 23 minutes behind Hult was women’s marathon winner Walburga Martin of Prosser, Wash., who took fourth overall.

“I actually signed up this morning,” Martin said, adding that she knew she could do the distance because of recent triathlon training. “I did an ironman a couple weeks ago.”

The Walla Walla course starts near the south entrance of Pioneer Park, then heads south and west along the streets of Division, Bryant, Howard, Prospect, Gray Lynn, Taumarson and Peppers Bridge. Runners then head east and north along Old Milton Highway, Langdon Road, Kendall Road and Fern Street. The course is a 13.1 mile loop that is run twice for a total of 26.2 miles.

Still in shape from the Sep. 21 Bend, Ore., Leadman triathlon — a 3 mile swim, 138 mile bike and 13 mile run — the tall and lean 41-year-old Martin ran a personal best on Sunday, finishing at 3:27:10. The physician also qualified for the Boston Marathon and said qualifying was a driving force because she wanted to compete with colleagues in Boston.

“I just wanted to go with my friends,” Martin said.

Second place went to local Joe Nevshemal of Walla Walla, who was also attempting to qualify for the Boston event.

At 37, Nevshemal needed a time 3:10:59; he crossed the finish line at 3:15:40 but was still pleased with his performance and the course.

“I was surprised. I didn’t now I was going to do so well,” he said. “I thought it was a great marathon course. Strangely enough, all my practice runs are similar to it.”

Third place also went to a local. Tony Billingsley, 38, of Walla Walla finished with a time of 3:19:33.

The race had 44 registered marathon runners this year, 202 half-marathon runners and 101 10K runners.

There were also seven youths entered in the marathon club, where youths as young as 4 run a cumulative marathon over six weeks and finish the last mile at Sunday’s marathon.

For more results and other information, go online to wwmultisports.com.

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