David Too of Florida salutes the awaiting crowd at the finish line where he claimed the championship of the 47th running of the Rocket City Marathon with a time of 2:27:40. Photo- Brandon Schatz, Sportsphotos.com

2023 Rocket City Marathon Has Excellent Run In 47th Annual Event

HUNTSVILLE- A chilly and windy morning greeted the more than 1,100 runners who took to the race course for the 47th annual Rocket City Marathon. The bravery to challenge the course and Mother Nature’s weather led to many personal best performances led by Florida’s David Too who won the race in grand style with a finish time of 2-hours, 27 minutes, 40 seconds.

“I really enjoy running here because it’s such a great environment where people are supporting you, cheering you along,” said Too, to the Tennessee Valley Outsider (tennesseevalleyoutsider.com). Too, a graduate student at Florida State and a competitor at both Florida A&M and Iowa State, added, “There was no rain, but it was chilly and windy. Everyone had the same conditions. I’m just glad it wasn’t raining.”

Runner-up in the 26.2-mile race was Josh Whitehead of Madison who just happen to be the race’s defending champion. The 45-year old posted a time of 2:32:18. Third was Chris Lemon of Dayton, Ohio, who was runner-up to Whitehead in 2022, at 2:24:15. The second top finisher from Madison was Beck Mitchell, 36, with a time of 2:58:42. Whitehead’s time also earned him the Male Masters title.

Mid-way through the race a group of five elite runners broke from the rest of the competitors and led the way to the finish line inside in the South Hall of the Von Braun Center.

On the women’s side of the race, Lemon’s sister, Maura, came across the finish line at 2:47:04 to earn her marathon title. This was the 34-year old’s 11th marathon and she also hails from Dayton, Ohio. She told the Tennessee Valley Outsider. “I won the front half-marathon last year and I wanted to come back and do the whole marathon. The final 10K was rougher than I thought it was going to be just because of the head wind. But man, all the energy coming around that corner and into the finish line was amazing. This is just awesome.”

The top female finisher from Madison was 26-year old Malia Gill who was 12th overall in the women’s division. Her time was 3:19:47.

“I was a little surprised how well everything went for the races as the rainy weather we were expecting did not happen for the marathon, but it was chilly,” said Dwayne DeBardelaben, who along with his wife, Dana, is marathon race director. “We had a great three days of running for the Huntsville area.”

The three-day extravaganza included the annual Running Expo inside the Von Braun Center both Friday and Saturday, the 10K, 5K and kid’s marathon races on Saturday, and marathon incorporated with the first half-marathon and second half-marathon races on Sunday. In all, around 3,000 participants took to the courses for another grand event co-hosted by the Rocket City Track Club and the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Complete list of results available in the printed edition of the Madison Record.

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