DEADWOOD — South Dakota runners Matthew Horan and Brandon Fried made their first trips to the winner’s circle of the Mickelson Trail Marathon Sunday in Deadwood.

Horan, who resides in Sioux Falls, finished the 13.1-mile half marathon in 1 hour 14 minutes 57 seconds. Fried lives in Rapid City and emerged as the full-marathon champion in 2:51:21.

“I’ve gotten second before, but that was a while ago,” the 26-year-old Horan said of this marathon. He added he has run this race several times since he was a high school sophomore.

When asked what first led him here, Horan said his grandparents live in Rapid City, so he and his family would visit the area each summer. The elder Horan and Matthew would run the half marathon.

“I started off a little conservative the first few miles,” Horan said of Sunday’s race. He did not pass the leader until the eighth or ninth mile.

Horan’s favorite portions of the course include a couple of spots soon after the halfway point. He said he can see the hills and creeks really well when he comes around those turns.

“I always forget how tired I am, for a few seconds, when I run by that spot,” he said.

Horan said his biggest challenge arose around the six-mile mark, where the course goes uphill for one-half to three-quarters of a mile. He added it can be tough physically and mentally.

Goals centered on a 75-minute race and top-five finish.

“It’s really gratifying,” Horan said of his title. “Some years I’ve been in first for a couple of miles, but I’ve never been able to get to win it.”

The winter forced Horan to do a lot of training on a treadmill. He ran a half-marathon race in April and began increasing his mileage when the weather became nicer.

Horan said the trail’s beauty keeps him returning to this race. 

He runs four or five of these distance races every year. He is planning to enter the Sioux Falls full marathon in September while running shorter races before then.

Fried, 35, said things went well. “I felt pretty good for the majority of it,” he added.

Sunday marked the second time Fried has entered this race. He said friends encouraged him to run with them this year.

His goals centered on a time of 2 hours and 55 miles while trying to win the race.

Training was not an issue for Fried this year. “I run year-round all the time: miles, miles, miles,” he said.

Sunday marked his fifth full marathon. He has run long distances most of his life, and a friend encouraged him to take up the 26.2-mile distance.

“It was fantastic weather the whole time,” Fried said. 

Spearfish’s Jessica Donner was the first female finisher in the half marathon (1 hour 27 minutes 9 seconds). Dickinson, N.D., resident Lisa Holding Eagle was the first female finisher in the full marathon (3:16:12).

Online records show 1,602 runners finished the half marathon. Another 234 competitors completed the full marathon.

Turn to a future edition of the Black Hills Pioneer for placings of area residents.

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