Shaun Maguire did not take the recommended path to becoming a marathon victor. He entered yesterday's Hamptons Marathon in East Hampton 11 days before the race, having not followed a typical 12 to 16-week training program.
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Not exactly what the marathon doctor would order.
"I figured I would try to get a decent time," Maguire said.
A self-described "awkward-looking" runner, Maguire followed Koegel for the first third of the race, drafting on the more experienced road-racer. But he sensed Koegel's pace slowing and took the lead, which was unchartered territory. He had finished three previous marathons but had never come close to winning.
"When I started leading around mile 10, the next six miles, as people cheered me on, I ran too fast," Maguire said. "I wasn't used to people cheering me that early in a race.
"I was kind of just running all over the place giving people the thumbs up."
After finishing, Maguire stood no more than 20 meters beyond the finish line, waiting to give Koegel his due.
"There is no way I could have finished as well as I did it weren't for him," Maguire said.
Maguire's frenetic pace began at 3 p.m. Friday, when he jetted out of work and into a waiting taxi. He caught a 4 p.m. Amtrak train to Penn Station, and as he noted with a sheepish grin, was the last passenger to board.
After catching four hours of sleep on a couch at a friend's Midtown Manhattan apartment, he caught a 4:40 a.m. bus to East Hampton.
"Let's just say I function off very little sleep," Maguire said. "To be completely honest, a marathon is de-stressing from my normal daily life. So this is actually invigorating. I feel more awake than normal.
"It's a different type of stress and exhaustion."
And the stress and exhaustion turned into invigoration, as the unexpected victor savored the moment.
Mary Beth Ryan of Holden, Mass., won the women's marathon in 3:08.36, finishing fourth overall. Steven Mitchell won the men's half-marathon (1:25.28), with Southampton's Jason Hancock taking second (1:26.14). The women's half-marathon was won by Veronica Jackson (1:28.05). In the 5-kilometer race, 13-year-old Erik Engstrom of Amagansett took first in 19:20.