Of the nearly 900 people completed the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon on Saturday morning, the Observer paid particularly close attention to one: Billy Shue, a 33-year-old Charlotte native who has doggedly pursued a victory at his hometown race.
In the end, he fell short again.
Shue said he had to run through pain for the last 18 miles of the 26.2-mile race, and he wound finishing in fifth with a time of 2:43:46, his slowest time on the Charlotte course since 2009.
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“Today may not have been a PR (personal record) in time, but it certainly was a PR in mental and physical fortitude, as my right calf/Achilles flared up on the eighth mile and I had to go the rest of the way with it hurting pretty significantly,” he said in an email to the Observer. “What pumped me full of power and adrenaline all the way to the finish was the wonderful cheers and support. ... This is why the Charlotte Marathon will always have a very special place in my heart.”
The overall winner of the race was 38-year-old Bert Rodriguez, who broke the tape in 2:26:33. Rodriguez previously had won the race once (in 2013) and finished second twice (in 2014 and 2015).
Also in the top five were Andrea Gargamelli, 28 (2:29:45); Mike Mitchell, 33 (2:37:30); and Reed Payne, 23 (2:43:13). All five men are Charlotte residents.
In the women’s race, 28-year-old Jenna Baker of Charlotte won in 3:00:38, followed by Amanda Morris, 32, of Charlotte (3:01:39); Amanda Walden, 33, of Charlotte (3:06:42); Melissa Bell, 36, of Charlotte (3:06:56); and Kristen Davis, 36, of Raleigh (3:09:24).
Full results – including results for the half marathon, 5K and relay events – are available here.