Johnson, Walkonen lead NH contingent
The twenty-somethings from Lebanon, who met two weeks ago and now think they may do some training runs together, entered Monday's Boston Marathon as the top qualifiers from New Hampshire.
Johnson got to the finish line in two hours, 26 minutes and 14 seconds, six minutes ahead of Josh Steffen, 33, of New London.
"You know what, it's a little bit of a bummer, but I do already have the 'B' standard and I'm happy about that," Walkonen said. "Six seconds is insignificant. I couldn't have asked for a better day. I'm very, very happy."
The race was only the second marathon for Walkonen, 27, who was a standout in cross country and track at Conant High School in Jaffrey and then at Boston University.
Two marathons in, she's liking the distance.
Johnson, who did his running at the University of Massachusetts and is in a doctoral degree program at Dartmouth College, was happy with his day, too.
"It went real well," he said. "It was a great atmosphere out there and I was running with my brother and my teammates. I kind of surprised myself. I didn't feel good toward the end, but for the most part I felt great."
Walkonen's time was the best by a New Hampshire woman in more than 30 years. Karen Dunn was the last to break 2:38 when she went 2:33:35 in 1983.
Dannis clocked a time of 2:44:14 and was 10 minutes ahead of Denise Sandahl, 33, of Bow, who finished in 2:54:13.
"I was kind of unconventional," she said. "I started as an ultra-marathoner and did a lot of 50-milers and 100-milers."
"I surprised myself and found I have a little bit of road speed," she said. "That put me on a path of seeing if I could break three hours.
Now I have a goal of trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials. I have to run a 2:43 and was at 2:44 today and that was after a tough start and having to start a little farther back."
Amy Bernard, 36, of Hampstead was the fourth New Hampshire woman in 3:03:54; Colleen Harrison, 31, of Hanover finished in 3:07:19; Christin Doneski, 43, of Hopkinton in 3:07:33; and Julia Huffman, 29, of Manchester checked in at 3:08:19.
Steffen finished in 2:32:15. Joshua Andrew, 25, of Portsmouth was 44 seconds behind Steffen as the third New Hampshire male. Alex Hall, 27, of Hanover was next at 2:39:54 and Tim Perry, 30, of Manchester rounded out the top five in 2:41:25.