Jake Buhler's first experience with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was last year when he ran the half-marathon.
The former collegiate distance runner at Utah Valley was struck by all the support he received on the race course that day.
“I had thousands of people cheering me on out here, remembering that tragic day,” said Buhler, who lives in Edmond. “Just to be out here and feel that energy is awesome.”
So Buhler, 25, set a goal to win the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon this year, which he did Sunday in a time of 2:27.30, easily outdistancing the rest of the field.
His time was four minutes off of his personal best, which he set at a California marathon in December.
“I ran the half last year because I had taken about a year off and was trying to get back into shape,” said the second-year dental student at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. “I did a year of training and then I came out here and did this and it felt good. I felt strong today.”
Buhler, who works at the OK Runner retail store in Edmond, was paced by his friend and store manager, Jerry Faulkner, for the first six miles of the race.
“I was making sure he didn't go out too quickly and mostly making sure he was relaxed,” said Faulkner, a long distance runner who is training for a marathon next weekend in Lincoln, Neb. “Then I just said “Go get it, man. You are real strong today.' He was out to win it and he deserved it. He kicked butt.”
Buhler said the weather for Sunday's race was “a little hot and humid for my liking but it's still pretty good. Overall, I felt pretty good.”
Buhler and Faulkner train together and run every Sunday from Edmond to Guthrie and back, logging many miles on Oklahoma's dirt roads.
“I just run as much as I can,” Buhler said. “I've been out of college running for about two years so I just continue to put down some miles. Hopefully one day I will make the Olympic trials.”