Humidity takes its toll

Times slowed as competitors pushed hard in Marquette Marathon

In the photo above, Mandy Dye of Marquette, right, receives a medallion from race volunteer Kelly Pietrzak after winning the women’s marathon during the Marquette Marathon that finished on North Third Street in Marquette on Saturday. In the photo at left, former Northern Michigan University All-American cross country and track athlete Kameron Burmeister approaches the finish line as the winner of the women’s half-marathon. In the photo at top right, Joe Ketarkus of Madison, Wis., takes a breath after winning the men’s marathon. (Journal photos by Steve Brownlee)

MARQUETTE — Though temperatures were only in the 70s throughout Saturday morning, high humidity plagued competitors in the Marquette Marathon.

Joe Ketarkus of Madison, Wisconsin, made sure the winning time didn’t go over three hours for the first time in the event’s nine-year history — but just barely.

He finished in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 59.5 seconds, a half-second under the three-hour threshold and nearly a minute and a half ahead of runner-up Matthew Cosby of Bronson, who came in at 3:01:21.4.

“The humidity is what really makes it hard for the runners, a lot more than the temperature,” said Kelly Pietrzak, coach of the Queen City Kids Club running group.

She was also a race volunteer at the finish line located at the intersection of North Third and Michigan streets near downtown Marquette.

A Weather Channel reading just after 11 a.m. Saturday showed Marquette’s temperature at a mild 75 degrees, but the relative humidity at a sticky 76 percent.

Only in its first year of 2010 had just one runner finished under three hours, but Ricky Alvarez of Danville, Illinois, easily broke that barrier with a 2:37:57.8 timing that year. That’s according to Superior Timing records linked to the Marquette Marathon website,

Every year since, at least four runners have come in under three hours. That includes last year, when two of the 11 runners under that threshold were women.

The slowest winning time previously was in 2016, when Brad Vincent of Ann Arbor won in 2:49:51.2.

The record fastest time was in 2013, when Jon Rock of Macomb won in 2:29:04.6.

Mandy Dye of Marquette won the 2018 women’s marathon in 3:10:24.9, and was the top Upper Peninsula finisher in the event, man or woman, as her time put her eighth overall.

Similar to Ketarkus, Dye won her race by not quite a minute and a half as runner-up Molly Oren of Holland clocked 3:11:45.6.

Melanie Bicigo of Marquette was next among U.P. residents, coming in fifth in 3:25:17.7, while Kara Graci of Marquette was 12th in 3:32:41.7.

In the men’s race, the top U.P. finisher was Mark Hallmann of Kingsford, 16th in 3:21:12.8, while locally, the best finish was by William Nolan of Negaunee, 72nd in 4:21:06.3. Nolan was just a few seconds ahead of 74th-place finisher Dell Kab of Negaunee’s 4:21:10.4.

Like the marathon, the women’s half-marathon winner was from Marquette.

Former Northern Michigan University All-American cross country and track runner Kameron Burmeister won easily in 1:19:06.6, more than 11 minutes ahead of current Negaunee High School standout Emily Paupore, who was runner-up in 1:30:22.2.

Burmeister was also third overall among all racers.

Natalie Anderson of Menominee was third for the women in 1:31:26.4, while Negaunee’s Kelly Menge was sixth in 1:34:41.2.

In the men’s half-marathon, Samuel Parlette of White Lake won in 1:11:45.2, more than six minutes ahead of Nathaniel Langlie of Marquette’s 1:17:54.6.

Alexander Dennis of Marquette was fourth in 1:21:42.8, while Brent Skaw of Marquette came in fifth in 1:22:27.3.

In the Blackrocks five-kilometer race, Lucas Cavalieri of Marquette won the men’s title in 18:46.2, more than 15 seconds ahead of runner-up Garrett Rudden’s 19:04.6. Rudden was a standout cross country and track performer at Marquette Senior High School.

Jesse Rittenhouse of Marquette was fourth in the men’s 5K in 21:03.5.

Laurie Tardiff of Marinette, Wisconsin, won the women’s 5K in 21:05.3, with Chassell’s Jenna Pietila runner-up in 21:43.2.

Marquette’s Anna Bauers was fourth in 22:38.6, while another Marquette resident, Emmi Kruhak, was sixth in 25:20.1.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@