Cary finishes second in division at Tucson Marathon

Jessica Cary and her dad Scott Cary finished the Tucson Marathon.  - Susanne Cary photo
Jessica Cary and her dad Scott Cary finished the Tucson Marathon.
— image credit: Susanne Cary photo

A change of scenery worked well for Jessica Cary and her father, Scott Cary.

Sure, it was warmer in Tucson, Ariz. than Langley. It was also flatter, and that allowed the father-daughter duo to finish their first marathon 20 minutes faster than they expected.

“Our time was a lot better than we had planned,” said Jessica, a senior at South Whidbey High School.

The Langley residents returned to their former home state in Tucson for the city’s namesake marathon. More than 975 runners competed in the 26.2-mile race, and the Carys finished in the top 25 percent.

Cary finished second in her division (17- to 19-year-old women). Her time of 3 hours, 39 minutes and 12 seconds bested her father by six seconds.

Though she ran cross country all four years as a Falcon, Cary wasn’t used to the length and amount of training a marathon requires. While with the Falcon cross country team, she ran 5-kilometer (3.2 miles) races, at the longest. Once the season ended in November, she trained on eight-mile runs and 18-mile courses, the longest being 19 miles from Saratoga Road, to Langley, through Bayview and back to Saratoga.

“It was more time consuming. We were doing three eight-mile runs a week,” she said.

“When you get up to 18-mile training runs on weekends, it’s a lot of running.”

Her father placed 23rd in his age division. His time of 3:49:18 put him 249th overall.

Their journey to Arizona began in September when they decided on the Tucson Marathon. Running the long-distance race was a father-daughter event, and traveling somewhere warm was a nice perk.

“He’s just getting older, so it’s probably our last chance to do one,” Cary said of her 46-year-old dad.

“I figured if I was going to run so much, I should go somewhere I could actually travel to, and it was a little bit warmer.”

At the 7:30 a.m. start of the race Dec. 11, the temperature was recorded at 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Tucson. The same time and date in Langley, it was 37 degrees.

The course was flat and downhill, and declined 2,200 feet in elevation from start to finish. Combined with the temperature, the course conditions were ripe for a pair of first-time marathon runners.

“It was pretty flat. That’s what helped,” she said. “We trained on Whidbey Island where there are hills everywhere.”

“There were like two hills, and they weren’t even hills; they were gradual inclines.”

Not everything was as smooth as the course itself. Cary developed a blister on her foot less than halfway through the race. She chose to wear the new race-provided socks, which quickly rubbed her foot the wrong way.

“I got a blister at mile 10, a pretty bad one,” she said. “The last 16 miles were kind of hard.”

The Carys have no plans to run another marathon soon. Cary is focusing on grades and her job at Prima Bistro in Langley.

“It’s hard to commit that much time to running.”

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