Call last year a fluke. Michael Wardian won the SunTrust National Marathon for the fourth time Saturday morning, reclaiming his home turf.
The Arlington, Va., man has won all but one of the National Marathons. Last year, Patrick Moulton came from behind to beat Wardian, but he came in a distant second Saturday.
Wardian finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 58 seconds and planned to celebrate in New York City -- with a half marathon Sunday. Back-to-backs are nothing new to Wardian. The day after he won the 2008 National Marathon, he ran another marathon in Tennessee -- and finished third.
As he neared the end, Wardian had a chance to talk a little trash to his National Marathon rival. At mile 23, Wardian passed by Moulton at a turnaround.
"As we went through the turnaround I said, 'Not today,'" Wardian said. "I've got good role models in Ovechkin and those guys."
It's a special race for Wardian. Though he didn't achieve his first goal -- qualifying for the Olympic trials by running 2:19 -- his second goal was to defend his home course.
"This is a hometown race," he said. "It's kind of like when someone comes on you home field. You don't want them to walk away with the win."
Krista Vrombaut, of Illinois, won the women's National Marathon in 2:51:20. She credited the volunteers and the crowd with helping her beat her Chicago Marathon time.
"You have no idea how much the crowd support helps," she said. "The volunteers were awesome. At mile 24, their cheering, I said, 'You don't know how bad I needed that.'"
Last year, Moulton set a National Marathon record with a time of 2:21:17. He finished in 2:26:03 this year.
A couple of Indianans won the men's and women's National Half Marathons. Mark Fruin set a record -- by 13 seconds -- with a time of 1:05:02. Laura Farley was the first woman to finish, in 1:18:40.
"I just wanted to run faster than my first half marathon, and I did that," Farley said.
Fruin said the weather was perfect for a race.
"You can't get much better weather than this for running," he said.
But the warmer-than-average temperature was problematic for some, including top contenders in the marathon.
Moulton began to cramp at mile 12 and considered dropping from the race. It was the first time he'd ever cramped during a marathon, and he took it a mile at a time and managed to finish.
Vrombaut said she drank more water than she ever has during a marathon. Her calf muscles started to cramp at one point, but the cramping went away.