More than 12,000 runners ran in the Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis Marathon races on Oct. 19. Photo: Rod Mar
More than 12,000 runners ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Marathon races on Oct. 19. Photo: Rod Mar

Ben Bruce won his fourth Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon of the year.

As sunrise broke over the iconic Gateway Arch on Sunday morning, 12,000 runners readied themselves for a chilly morning journey through the streets of St. Louis. The Rungevity Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by The Quinn Family Foundation returned for a fourth year.

Des Soto resident Charles Beiseman, 33, toed the start line trying to defend his two-year marathon champion title, but the new 2014 marathon course proved to be his downfall. He ran strong with Ben Bruce of Flagstaff, Ariz. until mile 15, but after the hill on the backside of the course, Beiseman’s cadence slowed. Bruce took the lead and ran a few solid 5:25 minute mile splits, and then maintained that tempo all the way to the finish for the win in 2:27:32. Beiseman placed second in 2:38:06, followed by third place finisher Michael Horn in 2:38:22.

“It was a perfect morning for marathon running—cold at the start, not much wind with blue skies. The course was hilly with fairly gentle ups and downs, but I got into a good rhythm,” said Bruce. “My coach with Northern Arizona Elite is from St. Louis, and a lot of people from here follow our group. It was nice to have people are out there who know your name.”

Bruce is coming off of three other Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon wins this year including his debut marathon in February at the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans race (2:21:56), the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 1 (2:23:50) and Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon on Sept. 28 (2:22:38).

“Up next, I want to race at Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas in November to hopefully accomplish winning five Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon races this year. I’ll take a chance at rolling the dice and see where I land among the finishers,” adds Bruce.

New St. Louis resident, Andrea Karl, 22, won the women’s marathon in 3:01:47. Her initial goal was to finish under 3:20 and was not expecting to win overall, particularly since this was her first marathon.

“I only came out to qualify for Boston, and I am extremely in awe of my win today,” said Andrea Karl, who is originally from Columbus, Ohio but moved to St. Louis in July. “It was a challenging race, especially the second half of the course. The minute I decided to go to Washington University, I knew I had to sign up for this Rock ‘n’ Roll race. I wanted my first marathon to be in my new home. I really loved running through the arena district by Cardinals Stadium.”

Lisa Cary, 30, from Eureka, Mo., finished second in the women’s marathon in 3:08:41, followed by third place winner Amy Natalini, 32, from Belleville, Ill. in 3:09:57.

The men’s half marathon saw Scott Wietecha, 33, of Hendersonville, Tenn., victorious in 1:05:51. Wietecha is the reigning marathon champion in Nashville at the St. Jude Country Music Marathon, which is also run by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Zachary Meineke ran close to Weitecha for the duration of the race, but ultimately placed second in 1:06:09. Larry Huffman rounded out the top three men’s half marathon finishers in 1:14:27.

“I enjoy the Rock ‘n’ Roll races and was looking for a fall run. Coming here was a cool chance to see the city and have a 24-hour vacation,” said Wietecha, who won the Country Music Marathon the last two years and recently started an elementary school cross country team in Nashville, made up of about 47 third and fourth grade students. “The course was tough, lots of ups and downs, but luckily that’s how Nashville is. I was looking over my shoulder for the second place runner and he kept pushing me to go faster. I was trying to run 67 minutes, but he pushed me to finish in under 66 minutes.”

Lindsey Scherf, 28, from Chapel Hill, NC, landed first place in 1:17:30. Amanda Albrecht, 24, from Fetus, MO, was not far behind, placing second in 1:22:59. Last year Albrecht placed third in 1:25:38. This year’s third place finisher was Liz Speicher from Edwardsville, IL, 24, who crossed the finish line in 1:23:14.

“I’ve run a couple of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races and I’m competing in the event’s Grand Prix Series,” said Lindsey Scherf, who will be competing in next weekend’s inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon. “It was a beautiful tour of St. Louis’ tree-lined streets and the breathtaking Arch in the background, along with tons of cheering spectators. I was looking to come out for the win today, so that felt good.”

Through the race’s partnership with Rungevity and The Quinn Family Foundation, more than half-a-million dollars was raised this year for two St. Louis charities, the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Hospital and Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK). One hundred percent of what was raised goes directly to the official Rungevity charities, and includes the opportunity for a match donation from The Quinn Family Foundation. The Quinn Family Foundation’s mission is to provide funding for organizations that serve children with special needs and organizations through its new endurance fundraising program, Rungevity. Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital is the first pediatric bridge that helps kids and families transition from acute hospital care to home. Team Activities for Special Kids, a nonprofit, year-round instructional sports program for kids with special needs, has utilized the event’s charity racing program for the past three years, raising more than $2.5 million toward their $4.5 million capital campaign.

More than 12,000 runners participated over race weekend, which included a new Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k on Saturday and a marathon, half marathon, relay and another 5k on Sunday. All finishers earned a medal at each race, however runners who participated in both Saturday and Sunday’s events earned a special Remix Challenge medal to commemorate their accomplishment.  The event is famous for lining the race route with live, local bands and enthusiastic cheerleaders.

The 5th annual race will return to St. Louis on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

2014 Rungevity Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Marathon & ½ Marathon

Men’s Marathon

1. Ben Bruce, 32, Flagstaff, AZ, 2:27:32, $500 2. Charles Beiseman, 33, De Soto, MO, 2:38:06 3. Michael Horn, 24, St. Louis, MO, 2:38:22

Women’s Marathon

1. Andrea Karl, 22, St. Louis, MO, 3:01:47, $500 2. Lisa Cary, 30, Eureka, MO, 3:08:41 3. Amy Natalini, 32, Belleville, IL, 3:09:57

Men’s Half Marathon

1. Scott Wietecha, 33, Hendersonville, TN, 1:05:51, $250 + $350 time bonus* 2. Zachary Meineke, 26, Wauwatosa, WI, 1:06:09, $200 time bonus* 3. Larry Huffman, 31, Waterloo, IL, 1:14:27

Women’s Half Marathon

1. Lindsey Scherf, 28, Chapel Hill, NC, 1:17:30, $250 2. Amanda Albrecht, 24, Festus, MO, 1:22:59 3. Liz Speicher, 24, Edwardsville, IL, 1:23:14