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Bigfork High School graduate sitting in 2nd place for USA Road Running Circuit after win in Michigan

by JEREMY WEBER
For the Eagle | November 3, 2021 12:00 AM

Bigfork High School graduate Makena Morley jumped to the top of the earnings board and now sits in second place in the USA Road Running Circuit after winning the Amway River Bank Run 25k in Grand Rapids, Mich. October 23.

With the race serving as the USA 25k national championship, the win brought Morley her first national title in the longest race of her career.

“Going into the race, I really wanted to win but I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. It was a really exciting experience to be able to get the win,” Morley said about the accomplishment. “I am used to running half marathons, so I knew I could make it to the 13.1 mile mark, and I had a PR at that point and that excitement really helped me finish out those last two and a half miles. I just kept thinking to myself, only five half-miles to go. I do better with the longer races, so this was a good fit for me.”

Morley’s time of 1:10.27 through the half-marathon point was new PR for her and she held on to complete the 25K distance in 1:23.17, beating the course record set by Emma Bates in 2019 by more than 30 seconds.

“I was excited to try this distance because I think I am headed towards the full marathon distance and this was a good step for me,” Morley said.

With the $10,000 prize for winning the race, Morley’s season winnings jumped to $16,000 to move her into the lead for the road racing circuit. The 22.5 points for the win moved her into second in the circuit standings, 1.5 points behind leader Emily Durgin and one point ahead of third-place Erika Kemp.

While Morley says she plans to skip the 5K national championship in New York this weekend, she plans to finish out the season at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Hardeeville, South Carolina December 5.