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Hawaii’s Morrison, Crouse prevail in Maui Marathon

Malia Crouse of Kahului celebrates after winning the women’s division of the Maui Marathon on Sunday in Kaanapali. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

KAANAPALI — After about two miles into the Maui Marathon, Michael Morrison of Honolulu was already running his way to victory.

Morrison ran solo most of the 26.2-mile route from Kahului to Kaanapali on Sunday, winning with a time of 2 hours, 45 minutes, 14 seconds. That beat last year’s time by seven minutes.

“I do a lot of training on my own, so (racing alone) didn’t bother me,” said Morrison, who had just completed his 11th marathon. “Not a PR (personal record) but I’m still happy, especially since it was my first marathon in like almost two years, so I’m happy.”

Josh Myers of Florida finished second in 2:56:40, and Thomas Deepak of Virginia was third in 3:06:20.

As the sun came out over the pali, so did the heat, but Morrison still maintained a 6:15 to 6:20 mile pace.

Michael Morrison of Honolulu passes half marathon runners as he sprints to the finish line to win Sunday.

“It was a little hotter than I expected. Especially, from about 17 (miles) on, it got tough real fast,” he said. “Overall, nice course. I enjoyed it. Gorgeous.

“I like the break up of mile seven, eight, and then I think around mile 10 there were some nice rolling hills,” he added.

Not too far behind the top male finishers, Maui runner Malia Crouse crossed the line in 3:07:07 to become the overall female winner — even after starting about 10 minutes late.

In addition to competing, Crouse was also part of the marathon’s event staff, helping with setup the day before and the morning of the race.

“I had no idea what to expect,” Crouse said. “When I first started, I was kind of excited to play catch-up. … I was making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing and I was clearing all the cones and stuff.”

Chris Samis of Vancouver, B.C., nears the Maui Marathon’s halfway point Sunday.

The Kahului native also won the Maui Marathon back in 2014, but hadn’t competed in this race again until this year.

“What I’m most happy about is that I stayed pretty consistent throughout the whole race, and the last time I did this was five years ago, and remember falling apart the second half,” she said. “Everyone is doing such a great job and it was just fun to run my own race.”

Crouse took the lead around mile 16 when she caught up to Tennessee’s Amanda Erickson, who finished with a time of 3:41:37.

“The hills in the middle killed my steam a little bit, but other than that I feel pretty good, and the views were awesome,” Erickson said. “The start was nice and cool so it was really nice. … This course was by far the prettiest.”

Erickson traveled to Maui for her first race since having a baby, who is now 13 months old.

Amanda Erickson of Tennessee leads the marathon coming down out of the pali. She finished second in the women’s division.

“I was really motivated to have a good comeback race. I didn’t have a goal time in mind because when I train, I do most of my runs pushing a stroller so I had no idea what pace I could run because I normally have the stroller,” she said. “When I started the race, I was running seven-something, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that.”

After giving birth, Erickson gave herself three weeks of rest before training again, adding 2-mile runs every other day to start.

Erickson was also joined by her neighbor, who competed in the half marathon, to celebrate her 20th marathon and their first trip to Hawaii.

“I’m going to go take a nap with my baby, and I can’t wait to go jump in the ocean,” she said.

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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