MYRTLE BEACH Considering that a large part of her motivation for running the BI-LO Myrtle Beach Marathon was due to how disappointed she was with her last 26.2-mile race, Regina Horak hadn’t necessarily set her sights on winning anything Saturday morning.
So when she became the first woman across the finish line in a time of 2 hours, 54 minutes and 19 seconds, well, it was clear that she had impressed even herself.
“I didn’t think I was going to do it,” Horak said. “I went with the expectation of just finishing and, I don’t know, it felt right, it felt good.”
Horak, a 23-year-old from Madison, Wisc., finished more than three minutes ahead of the next woman to cross the line as 33-year-old Tana Kornachuk, of Whispering Pines, N.C., was second in 2:57:30 and 40-year-old Andrea Glover of Nanton, Alberta, Canada, was third in 3:01:03.
It was Horak’s third time running a marathon, and the last experience had been less than memorable back in October in Chicago.
“I blew up,” she recalled. “I went out way too fast running with all the elite athletes. You get caught up in the momentum. ... I kind of just hit the wall at mile 14 there.”
She wanted one more opportunity this winter and found her way to Myrtle Beach with a few friends. She started with a more manageable pace this time and found her stride while passing one competitor after another.
“At the half, I was third and just kind of picked off a girl and at mile 15 I picked off the next one and kind of just took off from there,” she said. “I never thought I’d win one, so ....”
So she had earned the right to celebrate, and this being her first time in Myrtle Beach, well, that’s exactly what she planned to do Saturday evening.
“You know, I said if I won -- I came down here with a few friends -- I said I’d be buying drinks all night,” Horak said. “So it looks like that’s what I’m going to end up doing.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318, or follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/RyanYoungTSN.