Billy Shue began running long distances when he was considering a post-college career as an officer in the Marine Corps.
The military career has yet to materialize, but the long distance running has endured for the Charlotte, N.C., resident, and his title and rank have come in his competitive hobby.
Shue, 27, won the men's division of the 14th Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon on Saturday in a time of 2 hours, 43 minutes and 47 seconds. It's his first marathon victory in his sixth 26.2-mile race.
"I've really only been legitimately running since July 2009, so I just want to keep improving on this [win] and Lord willing stay injury free," said Shue, an internal auditor for Wells Fargo.
Shue finished 49 seconds ahead of male runner-up Anthony Ivey of Tabor City, N.C., but he didn't cross the finish line first.
Kathleen Castles of New Providence, N.J., was attempting to qualify for the U.S. Women's Olympic Trials and easily did with a time of 2:40:11.
Shue wasn't necessarily surprised to see a pony tail on the runner who passed him about the 18-mile mark.
"I knew there were two girls attempting to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials, so you know they're going to be very legitimate," Shue said. "I was expecting anything. You just run as hard as you can and whatever happens, happens.
"Regardless of where you finish it's all about giving your best. I gave a hard effort and I'm very, very happy about how things went. I'm very happy to be the first guy and I'm very happy with the time."
Shue, who passed Castles around the 10-mile mark and opened up a 100-yard lead before surrendering the advantage at the 18-mile mark, came up shy of his personal best time of 2:41:18 set this past December at the Charlotte Marathon, where he has run half of his marathons.
"She picked it up around mile 18 and kept getting faster and faster from there," Shue said. "I did my best to try to keep up with her, but you've got to tip your cap. She ran better today."
Before his flirtation with joining the armed services, Shue was more of a sprinter. He ran the 200- and 400-meter events at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte to stay in shape for football. He's stuck on long distances now.
Saturday's race marked Shue's first marathon on flat terrain. His other five have been on more rolling courses.
"It not as easy as it looks on paper," he said. "Each marathon has its advantages. It's a great experience for next year. Next year I'm gonna try to practice more on flatter terrain for my long runs and marathon workouts to see if I can improve."
Ivey, 43, was trying to become the first male winner from Horry, Georgetown or Brunswick, N.C., counties to win the men's portion of the marathon, and ran a personal best by three minutes over the 2:47 he ran in Raleigh, N.C., in November.
"I want to win it [for the locals], and for personal reasons," Ivey said. "I want to be the best I can be while I still can. I'm 43 and I'm still [recording personal records]. Today was another PR day for me, and at 43 I'm proud of that."
The delivery route driver for Coburg Dairies in Conway has run in six consecutive Myrtle Beach marathons, and he said he has run more than 30 in all.
He is eligible to compete at the Master level (40 and over) and later this year he's hoping to compete in national 15k and half-marathon races.
"I want to see what I can do," he said. "It's an obsession almost. It's almost like eating and sleeping. I have to run. ... I just love being out running and competing is a passion of mine."
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.