April 17, 2007
BOSTON, MA - Dayton women's cross country head coach and assistant track and field coach Ann Alyanak raced in the 111th Boston Marathon on Monday and finished with a time of 2:38:55, good for ninth in the women's division and a second-best finish among American women.
Despite battling the rugged course and nor'easter weather that featured rain and winds up to 50 miles per hour, Alyanak qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials.
When Alyanak started the race, the temperature of 52 degrees and moderate rain -- unpleasant for sure, was much better than organizers feared when a storm pelted the region all weekend.
As one of 23,903 runners in the event, Alyanak navigated the legendary Boston Marathon course following a point-to-point route from rural Hopkinton to Boston.
With a goal to qualify for the 2008 Olympics, Alyanak had to meet a time of two hours and 39 minutes to reach the `A' standard. Thanks to a strong kick toward the end of the race, Alyanak reached that goal by five seconds.
Things started off slowly for Alyanak, but at the halfway mark she started to cut down on her time. She came in at 1:19.57 at the midway point and was on pace to run a time of 2:39.49.
The runners splashed over the early part of the course, many in jackets and gloves and some with sleeves to supplement their singlets. But by the time the lead pack of seven women reached Natick after about 10 miles, the rain had stopped and the wind had died.
Pumps were stationed at low-lying areas in case of flooding. Ponchos were provided for workers assigned outdoors. Runners were warned by e-mail to wear appropriate clothing.
The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Approximately 500,000 spectators line the 26.2-mile course annually, making the Boston Marathon New England's most widely viewed sporting event, according to estimates by police and public safety officials from the eight cities and towns along the route.
In her three seasons as UD head coach, Alyanak's squads have been named to the All-Academic Cross County Team by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, meaning the team has maintained a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0. In 2007, Dayton's 18 member cross country team, finished ahead of 93 schools, sitting 52nd nationally with the team's cumulative GPA of 3.4.