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Tammi Braund Wins Eau Claire Marathon!

Tammi Grabs a drink at mile 14
Tammi Braund of Cushing, WI won the Eau Claire marathon on Sunday, May 3rd in a time of 3:03:46, just two weeks after setting a personal best marathon time (2:58:40) in the Boston marathon. I believe this marks 2 marathon victories in 4 marathon attempts (she's also the champion and course record holder of the inaugural Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon).

Sunday was a great day for a marathon. A cool morning gave way to some hot temperatures later in the afternoon, and it really felt like a summer day for the first time this year. Initially my plan was to run this event with Eric T. Olson (who would go on to finish his 66th marathon). However, my wife had a work trip to New York, so I was relegated to cheering duty (after the Chippewa 50k, that was just fine).

At 7:30 I loaded my two beautiful little girls into the trusty Burley and headed out to find a nice place to spectate the race. 
We ended up camping out on the lawn of the DMV. There were some flags in the yard, so I checked to make sure they didn't say, "we've just sprayed pesticides all over this grass...don't let your kids play here" (they didn't say that...they were buried cable flags), and we hunkered down for a nice little picnic. I'd brought a couple nutella sandwiches which the girls insisted they didn't want earlier that morning, but I'd new they'd eat when they got hungry enough (like 5 minutes later).

We didn't have long to wait until overall men's winner Scott Hayden came by looking smooth. He'd go on to win the overall in a time of 2:46:00 almost 11 minutes ahead of 2nd place:
The women's race was a bit more fiercely contested, although Tammi did go on to win by almost 4 minutes. At mile 14, Tammi was sitting in second place behind Kayla Anderson, and at times throughout the day she trailed by as much as 45 seconds (you can check result statistics here).

I gave Tammi a big cheer when I saw her and handed her a gatorade, but she wasn't feeling all that good. At that point she didn't think she could catch the leader and seemed a little dejected. Tammi actually physically stopped to drink the gatorade, then asked if she could take the bottle (of course you can take the bottle Tammi!). I kind of laughed at how polite she is. I've been known to snatch bottles of water (well...ok...beer) out of the hands of spectators during marathons without them even being offered! I'm slow too, some of those guys chased me down and tried to get those bottles back (I can fiercely contest beer ownership...possession is 9/10ths of the law as they say). 

Tammi took off and we set around to wait for Eric, who came along shortly thereafter.
After Eric drank all the rest of the beer, water and gatorade that I'd brought (JK...he took NOTHING), I loaded the girls back into the Burley to move off down the course.

The Eau Claire marathon is actually a great event for spectating. It makes a big circle throughout Eau Claire and goes over a couple nice, scenic railroad bridges.

I probably could have been a better support guy for Tammi, but the two beauties kept me kind of busy. This year, the end of the course went right down water street, and as I rode down it I realized Tammi must have already finished.

At the finish area, I ran into Tammi and got the good news that she had won. She said she caught up with the woman in first around the 21 mile mark. Marathons are crazy events, people can fade huge in the last couple miles. Tammi did amazing to pull out the victory.
There was a lot going on at the finish area, huge crowds and a lot of fun activities for the kids. This is definitely a great event and one to have on the yearly calendar. By the time everyone finished, the whole family was wiped out and we slept like rocks for the whole rest of the day.  My eldest daughter even scored some sweet sunglasses.
It would have been fun to race, but it was awesome just to hang out and cheer everyone (I ended up riding for around 2 hrs, so that was plenty). What a thrill to have Tammi win it! Congratulations Tammi and everyone who participated in the Eau Claire Marathon!

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