Wietecha Wins Again at St. Jude Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon  

04/30/2017 - 14:11

Scott-Wietecha-900x600.jpgNASHVILLE, TN — At mile 11, Scott Wietecha’s legs started shutting down. By mile 20, despite his best efforts to stay hydrated, the 35-year-old was no longer sweating. 
Competing in Saturday’s 18th running of the St. Jude Rock ’n’ Roll Nashville Marathon was a struggle for the 35-year-old. However, despite this race being a little more difficult than those he’s run in the past, he still found a way to win the event for the fifth straight year, finishing in 2:40:26.
“It was definitely a struggle,” Wietecha said. “I’m glad it was 26 miles instead of 27 or there might have been a different winner.”
Why was this year more of a struggle than previous victories? Well, a few months ago, Wietecha thought he was done running. 
“I put on 15, 20 pounds,” he said. 
Then the parents of some high school students called looking for someone to train their children. That training put Wietecha back on the path toward competing, and winning, the event once again. 
“I kind of wish they had called me a month earlier,” he said. “I would have been a little better prepared.” 
The Hendersonville, TN, resident said it helps competing in a local race. He saw several of his students along the course, particularly after mile 20, which helped push him toward the finish. Before the race, the students asked what they could hand him along the way. 
“I told them money, but nobody brought me any money,” he said with a laugh. “Water is better than money today.”
Ryan Regnier, a 41-year-old from Lincoln, Neb., finished second in the star-studded day that featured former American Idol contestant Kellie Picker, who ran a relay to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Bachelorette season 11 winner, Shawn Booth, who ran the half marathon on behalf of St. Jude.  
Lauren-Mitchell-2-900x600.jpgWomen’s marathon winner Lauren Mitchell didn’t expect to finish first. After competing in the Boston Marathon a few weeks ago, she didn’t expect to have her best day. But, competing in her 40th marathon, she exceeded all of her pre-race expectations, finishing first in 3:17.34.
It was an emotional moment for the 32-year-old from Madison, AL.
“I did not expect that today, but it feels really good. I’m very, very grateful,” Mitchell said. “I just ran Boston and I had a really tough day out there. Today it just felt effortless, even though it was a tough course. The community was so fun. It was just a fun day. It’s what I love to do so it felt good.”
It was Mitchell’s first time running the race in Nashville and, when she crossed the finish line in her biggest marathon win so far, she said she felt like she was in the right place at the right time. 
“It’s just one of those moments in life where you’re grateful to be a part of it,” she said. “You hope that everyone can experience that at least once.”
Mitchell was impressed by the support from the crowd lining the course, the families and the kids, “that’s what keeps you going,” she said. 
And, when asked about the driving force behind her victory, she smiled and said, “slow start.”
Katlyn Will, a 26-year-old from LaGrange, GA. finished second in 3:20.48.
On a beautiful, but warm, spring morning, half marathon winner Tyler Andrews knew heading into the race it wasn’t a “PR day.”
But that didn’t stop him from finishing the race in 1:10.59.
“It’s spectacular,” he said. “The best part for me was when we looped back around at the beginning and passed by the start, there was so much energy coming from the crowd. It was like you were at the Boston Marathon. It was great.”
It was Andrews’ first trip to Nashville. He was hosted by friends on the Vanderbilt men’s and women’s cross country team. 
“It’s really great,” he said. “It’s so fun to be here.”
Unlike Andrews, Allie Mac knows the city well. The Nashville native used that knowledge to her advantage, winning the women’s half marathon in 1:23:04.
“I knew where we were going,” she said. “I knew where the hills were going to be.” 
She tried to gain ground on those hills and running in the heat wasn’t a problem. 
“I knew it was going to be hot,” she said. “I kind of like it. I get really sweaty, but it keeps me loose.”
Mac was running behind several runners early in the race and had to chase them down to secure the victory. However, she wasn’t focused on closing ground. She simply tried to run the best race possible. 
“I get nervous in races,” she said. “I get stressed out when I try to catch someone, so I just kind of said, ‘Whatever, I’m just going to keep my pace and if I catch them I catch them.’ — I did.”   
The St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2 Marathon returned with more than 34,000 entrants who took on the 26.2, 13.1-mile and 5K courses, while passing many of Nashville’s best live bands performing along the route. Race weekend kicked off on Thursday with the inaugural one mile race through downtown Nashville allowing runners to complete the Remix Challenge. Those who ran the one mile and any distance on Saturday received an exclusive third medal. In addition, 3,500 junior racers will participate in KiDS ROCK Nashville presented by YMCA of Middle Tennessee.
During the marathon, 2,200 St. Jude Heroes ran for a reason, and this year, they hit their goal of $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Over the event’s six-year partnership, more than $8 million has been raised for St. Jude


Top photo: Scott Wietecha wins the marathon.

Bottom photo: Lauren Mitchell is the female marathon champion.

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