Rookie marathoners Adams, Graef break the tape on a blustery day

By Justin Harper Modified: April 28, 2008 at 7:41 am •  Published: April 28, 2008
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/> "You always want to do your best at whatever you do,” the father said. "Caleb always had that attitude and Nathan does, too. To see your children be that way, it makes a parent proud.”

Nathan Adams plans to get his time down in the 2:25 range and compete in the Chicago Marathon next year.

Working toward a better time and bigger marathon is also on Graef's agenda after Sunday's victory. The 22-year-old Wisconsin native had already signed up for the San Francisco Marathon in August, but after winning in OKC and coming within seconds of breaking the women's record, she has a new outlook.

"That one I planned on being just for fun,” Graef said of San Francisco. "Now, who knows? After this, I might need to take it more serious.”

Indeed. Graef went into training knowing she could handle a 7:30-per-mile-pace, but in the weeks leading up to her first marathon, training was going so well she was planning on a 7:15 pace. But Sunday, everything clicked and Graef found herself running a 7:00 pace. The result was a 3:02:15, barely missing the women's record of 3:02:07, set by two-time champion Sara Pizzochero.

"I just went by feel and until mile 21, the seven-minute pace was working great,” said Graef, a standout basketball player in high school who ran track and cross country at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Graef came to Oklahoma to enter the master's program in exercise physiology. She expects to obtain a doctorate degree in that field from OU as well.

However, her future, and Adams', also includes more marathons. Both burned up their beginner status Sunday. Nice trade, though. They're both in the rarer category of marathon winner.

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Nathan Adams waves to the crowd after winning the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday. The race was Adams' first marathon. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN

Women's marathon winner Jennifer Graef crosses the finish line Sunday. Graef, a first-time marathon runner, came within seconds of breaking the women's record. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN

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