Rookies cross the line first at 13th Country Music Marathon

Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 11:13pm
Staff reports

Ryan James, a 19-year-old college sophomore, became the youngest winner of the Country Music Marathon when he completed the 13th annual event in 2:32:50 on Saturday.

It was the first career marathon for James, a native of Belfast, Maine, who is a member of the Berry College cross country team.

“This was an amazing experience. My plan was to run to completion and run as hard as I could,” James said. “Those last couple miles it was getting a little tough. I heard Nashville had hills but I’m a cross-country runner. A bunch of my teammates are here running to celebrate the end of our season, but this is the highlight of my running career.”

Erin Sutton, of Woodstock, Ga., another first-time marathoner won the women’s event in 2:54:16. Former University of Tennessee All-American Sharon Thompson, of Franklin, won the women’s half-marathon in 1:19:40, and Dallas-based Sammy Kiplagat was the men’s half-marathon winner in 1:10:08.

According to organizers, the event drew more than 30,000 participants.