MANCHESTER — Sam Fazioli was just hoping to get in a good, long workout as he trained for a marathon in California next month. Instead, Fazioli picked up his first marathon victory, winning the CMC Manchester City Marathon on Sunday with a personal-best time of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 30 seconds.
“I thought I’d be around 2:30 but I felt really, really good,” said Fazioli, a 27-year-old civil engineer from Salem. “The weather was absolutely perfect and I thought, ‘Alright. I’m going to hammer’ and I just kept going faster and faster. I never really felt weak so I just kept pushing. It couldn’t have been a better day. This was awesome.”
Fazioli blew away the rest of the field, finishing 14:30 ahead of the next runner in the men’s field. Fazioli said he was more focused on putting together a strong run through the 26.2 miles in his last race before the California International Marathon on Dec. 8 in Sacramento.
Fazioli finished fifth in Manchester in 2016 and has a couple of third-place medals, but Sunday was his first marathon win; his time was about eight minutes better than he had run before.
The victor in the women’s field was also a first-time winner. Laena Romond, a 37-year-old horse trainer from Brookfield, Conn. She won with a time of 3:13:13.
“I looked at the (entry) times and I thought maybe I could get an age-group prize, so I sort of had that in the back of my head, but I didn’t really have much expectation,” Romond said.
Romond said she started to pull away around the 18th mile and knew she was leading the women’s field throughout the last several miles of the course along the Piscataquog Rail Trail, before crossing back from the West Side to the Mill Yard, then south again for the final stretch down Elm Street.
“They were telling me I was the first woman so from there I was just trying to push the rest of the way,” Romond said.
It was only the third marathon for Romond, who made her debut at the Philadelphia Marathon last November and ran her second in April in Paris.
“I knew this course was a little hillier than the ones I had run, so I was just hoping to finish the back half strong. It was awesome,” Romond said. “The last few miles were a little tough and I just kept telling myself ‘I’m probably never going to get this chance again. Don’t give it up! Don’t give it up!’”
Romond’s parents, Bill and Nancy Romond, and boyfriend Patrick Hill, were there to great her at Veterans Park after she crossed the finish line on Elm Street.
“It’s great. Unbelievable!” Nancy Romond said.
Heather Cirka of Hudson, Mass., took second (3:16:12) and Corrine Schlabach of Middlebury, Conn., placed third (3:17:03).
Erika Carace of Manchester was the top New Hampshire runner in the women’s field, taking seventh place (3:27:53).
Andrew Tuttle of Alton finished second in the men’s field with a time of 2:40:00 and Daniel Grip of Millers Falls, Mass., took third (2:44:40).