Christine Shaw had never run a full marathon before, and while she was confident she could put up a good time Saturday morning, she didnt know if it would be good enough to match the competition.
Nor was she aware while completing the latter part of her race of what had happened earlier in the morning which might have been a telling sign that this was going to be a big day for her family.
Sure enough, less than two hours after her husband Phil took first place in the Dasani Half Marathon, Shaw crossed the finish line as the womens winner in the 17th annual MyrtleBeach.com Myrtle Beach Marathon to make it a banner morning for the couple from Manchester, N.H.
Its pretty awesome, she said. We do a lot of road races up in New Hampshire and weve never gone one and one before, so its pretty cool.
Shaw, 28, won the womens race in a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes and 38 seconds, more than 11 and a half minutes ahead of her nearest challenger as 36-year-old Allison Pastorek took second in 3:10:13 and 43-year-old Christine Rockey finished third in 3:13:35.
Phil Shaw, meanwhile, had won the half marathon in a time of 1:11:29 and met up with his wife beyond the finish line soon after she crossed.
I cant believe it, he said, noting that they hadnt formally discussed the possibility of claiming two first-place medals. We didnt want it to become too big of a thing, but we knew there was a chance. It was kind of unspoken.
Both were collegiate runners at Boston University and have recently gotten back into competitive running. Christine Shaw chose Myrtle Beach for her first marathon attempt because of the flat nature of the course and the areas reputation for nice weather.
The latter was not the case Saturday morning.
Rain fell right up to the 6:30 a.m. start of the race while the chill and wind never relented. One strong gust knocked over the finish line setup for the full marathon as organizers raced to reconstruct it well in advance of any runners reaching the end of the 26.2-mile course.
We signed up for something that would be hopefully warm and good weather, but it is what it is, Shaw said. It was good basically up until mile 20 and then it got really windy, but I guess I made up for the time on my way out so it all worked out. My goal was to break three hours. Im happy.
While her husband was using the half marathon as part of his training for the Boston Marathon in April, Shaw said she had just been training for Saturday to see how well she could complete a marathon. She was more concerned with the time than the placing but was pleased with both afterward.
Its kind of a bonus, she said of winning. I was kind of just working on my time. My main goal was to break three [hours] so I was sort of running for myself, but its kind of cool to be the first female, too.
Times were down throughout the day due to the weather and Shaws winning time was more than four minutes slower than the 2013 womens winning time. Nonetheless, she thinks she led most of the way. After the half marathon crowd cleared out, spectators were trying to let her know where she stood, but she wasnt worried about it.
I just kept looking at my watch, Shaw said. I knew I had a chance, but you never know whos going to show up. Looking at past times, I had no idea.
She said she was going to enjoy this first victory for a while before deciding if shell run another marathon.
As for the possibility of returning to Myrtle Beach next year to defend her championship ...
Maybe, I dont know, she said. It depends on the weather.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318, or follow him on Twitter @RyanYoungTSN.