A driving tropical rainstorm couldn’t prevent Stephen Marthy from winning the first half marathon he ever entered.
The Shaker High School graduate posted a time of 1 hour, 1:46 to win the Hapalua Half Marathon March 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“That was my first half marathon,” said Marthy, who lives in Honolulu while serving in the Army. “I’ve done them in training, but I’ve never actually ran one before.”
The race began in stages. Marthy was in the second-to-last group to take off from the starting line. The last group, which started one minute behind Marthy, included several elite runners.
“The first group had a 25-minute head start,” said Marthy. “The next group had a 21-minute head start, and the next group after that had a 17-minute head start.”
It didn’t matter who started ahead of Marthy. The 25-year-old chased them all down to cross the finish line first.
“It was a little bit of a shock for me to cross the finish line first,” said Marthy, who was a cross country and track star at Shaker before going to West Point and then Hawaii. “I passed the final runner in the final 400 meters.”
The biggest obstacle in Marthy’s way was a torrential downpour two miles into the course. Though it didn’t slow him down, he said it likely led to an illness that lasted more than a week after the race.
“When I say torrential downpour, I mean you couldn’t see in front of you,” said Marthy. “I just put my head down and defended myself against the wind.”
Winning the Hapalua has Marthy thinking about longer races. The Army engineer officer said he has his sights set on a top-50 finish in this December’s Honolulu Marathon and a berth in next year’s Boston Marathon.
“I don’t give myself very good odds of winning (the Honolulu Marathon), but I definitely think I’ll have a very good finish,” said Marthy.