Kirkland’s Shaun Frandsen sets Tacoma City Marathon record; Seattle’s Emily Meeks takes women’s race

There’s plenty of time to think during a long run.

Kirkland’s Shaun Frandsen thought about his newborn son and his recent sleep shortage on his way to winning the ninth Tacoma City Marathon in a record 2 hours, 33 minutes, 14 seconds.

Michael Jorgensen of Tacoma thought about his family, too, and prayed as he ran to victory in the half marathon in 1:18:13.

And Seattle’s Emily Meeks was pondering a comment she kept hearing from spectators: “You’re the first woman.”

“I didn’t realize it,” she said. Even after the race, when a spectator asked if she’d won, she smiled and said, “I guess.”

Meeks covered the 26.2-mile course from the Tacoma Narrows Airport, over the new Narrows Bridge, through Point Defiance Park and along the waterfront in 3:21:57 for her first marathon victory.

“It’s a beautiful course,” the 28-year-old University of Georgia graduate said. It was her seventh marathon but her first in Washington. “Just getting to be outside in this beautiful place and getting to see (Mount) Rainier; it’s pretty incredible that we get to live here.”

Tacoma’s Kate Landau, too fast to be tracked down for an interview, won the women’s half marathon in 1:23:15.

For the most part each of the winners led wire-to-wire, including Frandsen who beat two-time defending champion Bill Condon of Seattle by more than five minutes.

“He’s a strong runner and when I lost sight of him I knew he was a few minutes ahead,” said Condon, who ran a personal best 2:38:20 on his way to second place.

Condon wasn’t disappointed with second. “I’d rather PR (set a personal record) and finish second and have more competition than win and not PR,” said Condon, who finished more than 5 ½ minutes faster than last year. “... You PR and you leave it all out there and you feel good about that.”

Frandsen, winner of December’s Seattle Marathon, almost didn’t run Tacoma City. The Spokane native was training to run the May 10 Eugene Marathon, but changed his mind when he learned the race was on Mother’s Day.

With a 1-month-old and 2-year-old at home, Frandsen said, “My wife deserves a Mother’s Day.” So he changed plans and entered the Tacoma City Marathon. And he’s glad he did.

“I think this is a great course,” Frandsen, 37, said. “I like a good, rolling course. The bridge reminds me of doing the Portland Marathon. I really like going through the (Point Defiance) park area. … And I think my favorite part was along the waterfront.”

The previous race record was 2:38:11 by Tacoma’s Michael Lynnes in 2008 when the race used a different route.

Frandsen’s record pace wasn’t as fast as he’d hoped. He wanted to finish in less than 2½ hours. “But I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately (because of the baby),” Frandsen said.

Jorgensen, the cross-country coach at Life Christian Academy, also has a newborn who has taken a chunk out of his sleeping schedule.

He took the lead at the start and won by nearly a minute.

Jorgensen says he prays while he runs. “Faith is a big part of my running,” he said.

When he wasn’t praying and thinking of his family, he said he was enjoying a day perfect for running.

“You do your best and whatever happens, happens,” Jorgensen said. “I’m just lucky nobody ran faster than me today.”