By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
Leslie Anderson came into Sunday’s Mankato Marathon hoping to improve her time from a year ago. If she could shave three minutes off that third-place time she would be thrilled, she said.
Try nearly eight minutes — a personal record — and a win.
“I’m shocked,” the 35-year-old Waseca resident said. “I’m just surprised. I can’t believe it.”
Anderson finished the marathon in 3 hours, 14 minutes, 23 seconds to be the top female finisher. She was also 13th overall.
“I just wanted to come in and run 3:19 and do better than last year,” she said. “I surprised myself, especially with the wind. It was a challenge facing that twice.”
A year ago, Anderson was 38th overall and the third woman to complete the course. She finished with a time of 3:22:11.
Her husband, Karl Anderson, said Leslie wanted to win this time around, and he and three of their children tried to catch up to her every two miles or so to give her Gatorade to keep her hydrated.
“By mile 17, I felt I could keep the quick pace,” Leslie said. “I had doubts at the beginning, that I was maybe going too fast. But I kept hydrated and tried to keep a decent pace.”
Last year, Anderson trained for the marathon using parts of the actual course. She avoided that this time around.
“I found as many hills back at home,” she said.
Sunday’s race was Anderson’s fifth marathon. She has been running for 10 years and did her first 26.2-mile race in 2010. She said she enjoys the Mankato race.
“The spectators were awesome,” she said. “It’s a great race. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Dawn Michaud of Sartell was the second female finisher. The 38-year-old had a time of 3:21:35. She was also 21st overall
Holly Hillstrom, 39, of Mahtomedi, was third among women in 3:24:51, followed by Jill Moncur, 44, of Sioux Falls, S.D. (3:25:56) and Allison Luse, 30, of Minneapolis (3:26:10).
The top female runner from Mankato was Audra Schweim, 37, who placed 16th with a time of 3:43:34. She was 87th overall.
In all, 178 women participated in the race. There were 494 people registered for the marathon.