Katie White knew exactly what was happening to her body when she stopped, stopped completely, with 600 yards left in her half-marathon run Sunday morning.
The 24-year-old former Husker from Broken Bow is getting her degree in physical therapy. She has final exams Monday and Tuesday at 8 a.m.
“I knew what was going on with my body, and I didn’t know if I had anything left to get my legs going again,” she said.
About 15 seconds after stopping, the bicycle and motorcycle escorts for White started encouraging her to get going and finish.
“They were saying, ‘Not that far,’ and ‘Come on, finish,’” White said after winning the 13.1-mile half-marathon race in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 16 seconds at the 38th annual Lincoln Marathon. “I don’t remember finishing, but I do remember thinking, ‘Don’t be a baby about this,’” she said.
She collapsed 3 feet past the finish on the 50-yard line of Memorial Stadium. After 35 minutes in the first-aid room in the North Stadium, she emerged, somewhat refreshed, searching for her father, Jayson, who talked her into running the race.
Sammy Rotich, a native of Kenya who lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, won the men’s half-marathon for the fourth time. He beat Lincoln native Mike Morgan, a former Nebraska Wesleyan and Lincoln Pius X runner, by 42 seconds.
Rotich, 28, was in charge of the half from the start and finished in 1:06:36.
“I got going and kept telling myself, 'Don’t let anybody beat me,'” he said. “I love this course. All the cheering and just seeing Lincoln again. I just didn’t have enough in my legs and the wind kind of got to me. I don’t think I recovered enough from winning the Drake Relays 5K last week.”
Rotich had some added incentive to win this year.
“My daughter, Joy, is 5 months old and I wanted to win for her,” he said. “Maybe in a few months, I’ll start jogging with her in a running carriage.”
Morgan, a three-time winner of the half-marathon and a three-time Olympic marathon trials qualifier, rallied to beat Alvaro Sanabria by 16 seconds for second place.
In the women’s race, Shannon Suing of Lincoln finished second, just ahead of two-time defending champion Bridget Easley of Lincoln.
“This is a great race and a great place to run,” said Morgan, a three-time NCAA All-American. “I’m getting ready to run in Beijing this year and needed something like this to jump-start my running.”
Morgan, the featured speaker at the Lincoln Marathon ceremonies Saturday, talked about getting in shape and running hard, but keeping the perspective, too.
“The training, the running and the finish are important, but how you develop as a person, how you build from here, is something I learned from Ted Bulling, when he was coaching me at Nebraska Wesleyan," he said.