By Alex Abrami and Austin Danforth, Burlington Free Press
Over its first 30 years, the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon and Relay had weathered all manner of conditions — from sheets of rain to oppressive heat to numbing cold. But no sooner had the throngs of runners and spectators converged on the starting line at Battery Park and race day No. 31 brought an unexpected wrinkle: A weather delay.
A brief thunderstorm forced the assembled masses to retreat for cover. Once the dark clouds passed, the racers returned.
And from there, about 45 minutes later than originally planned, it was business as usual.
There were times to chase, goals to reach. And it started with Sergio Reyes, the first marathoner to cross the finish line in Waterfront Park.
In 2010, Sergio Reyes earned the title of U.S. men's marathon national champion, and then represented his country at the next year's world championships. In 2013, Reyes turned in his marathon PR of 2, hours, 13 minutes, 34 seconds. Reyes was on fire, as he called it, until an Achilles injury reached a point where surgery was required in 2015.
"I doubted if I was every going to really run again," Reyes said.
Reyes missed a year of running, but the flight test engineer from Palmdale, California, is on the comeback trail. And Reyes showed he's got plenty of competitive racing left in his 37-year-old body. Pulling away from a three-man race at 15th mile, Reyes stormed to victory in 2:17:40 — edging out Tyler Andrews' 2018 performance as the second-fastest in course history.
Like Reyes, Rachel (Sorna) Schilkowsky (RunPro Camp Alum) also ended her first VCM experience covered in glory.
But unlike this year's men's winner, the 27-year-old from Rhode Island isn't trying to stay in the game — she's just getting started.
Sunday was just the third marathon for the former Cornell All-American. Schilkowsky's winning time of 2:45.59 was three and a half minutes clear of runner-up Kaitlin Frei.
Congratulations RRCA National Marathon Champions:
MALE OPEN: Sergio Reyes, age 37, Palmdale, CA in 2:17:40
FEMALE OPEN: Rachel Schilkowsk, age 27, Providence, RI in 2:45:59
MALE MASTER: Chris Coffey, age 40, Monkton, VT in 2:46:03
FEMALE MASTER: Toni Diegoli, age 40, Potomac, MD in 3:08:56
MALE GRANDMASTER: David Putney, age 54, Newport, NY in 2:52:58
FEMALE GRANDMASTER: Ruth Cardona-Suarez, age 51, Winchester, MA in 3:34:28
MALE SENIOR GRANDMASTER: Jack Pilla, age 60, Charlotte, VT in 3:04:46
FEMALE SENIOR GRANDMASTER: age 62, Andover, MA in 3:51:29