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Eau Claire Marathon running strong after 10 years

Rachyl Houterman - Leader Telegram

Eau Claire Marathon running strong after 10 years 

More athletes than last year laced up their running or walking shoes to pound the pavement to spectator cheers 

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    Participants in the half-marathon begin their 13.1-mile race through the city on Sunday during the 2018 Eau Claire Marathon. View more photos at


Beginning and ending in Carson Park, the event hosted a marathon, a half-marathon, a 5K and a kid's run. This year's event brought in just under 5,000 runners from 29 states and four countries, race co-director Emi Uelmen said. 

Last year, she said, just more than 4,000 participated. In addition, she said about 40,000 spectators came out to watch the different races last year.

"The community embraces it, which is huge," Uelmen said. "If we had people that would complain about roads being closed, things like that, it would be harder to do."

Uelmen pointed to the support the race receives from the police, Visit Eau Claire and sponsors like Scheels that make it possible to have a marathon in Eau Claire. 

Taking first place in the marathon for the third year in a row and setting a new course record was David Luy, 26, of Brookfield. Luy had a time of 2:23:09, three minutes faster than his time last year. Though he fell short of his 2:19 goal to qualify for the Olympic Time Trials, Luy said he's happy with his result.

"I'm definitely happy with how I finished because I didn't quit on myself," Luy said. "I wanted to walk, and I didn't do that. I had doubts the whole time, and I shut them out as best as I could, and I think I did the mental game really well. I just tried to run as smart and as strong as I could and enjoy as much as I could."

The last 10 kilometers were his hardest, Luy said, but he looked forward to nearing the end where he would pass through the Blugold Mile, the Water Street Mile and the Musical Mile to hear people cheer him on.

"You have that kind of motivation and support there, you gotta go for it," Luy said. "I can definitely be grateful and thankful for all that love from the Eau Claire community."

Running with Luy in the marathon was his 24-year-old sister Kathryn, who was working to qualify for the Boston Marathon next spring, which she did. She finished with a time of 3:28:31.

Luy said he won't run another marathon until the fall, but he will be participating in triathlons soon. He also still has his eyes set on qualifying for the Olympic Time Trials, which take place in Atlanta, Ga., in 2020.

Tammi Braund, 39, of Cushing, finished in the top spot for women in the marathon at 3:20:39. Her 2015 time holds the course record for women at 3:03:46. Braund said she was happily surprised with her result.

"I did Boston (Marathon), and then I did the Chippewa 50K last weekend, so I never expected to finish the way I did today," Braund said.

Braund said she will compete in seven more marathons this summer as well as an ultramarathon, which is any race longer than 26 miles.

Knowing how much community and participant support there is for the race, Uelmen said she wants to see the event continue to grow in years to come.

"I think it's great for the city," Uelmen said. "I think this is just a great kickoff to spring and summer running. And I want it to just keep growing for the positive."

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