SEA ISLE CITY - Brian Waters came from behind in the final five miles to win the 14th Ocean Drive Marathon on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Harrisburg, Pa., resident won the 26.2-mile race from Cape May to Sea Isle City in 2 hours, 49 minutes, 14 seconds. Brian McNeiece, of Narragansett, R.I., took second in 2:50:28, followed close behind by Tom Beekbuysen, of Herndon, Va. in 2:52:02 and Sean Reilly, of Toms River, in 2:52:28.
"Looking at some of the times from past years here, I thought I had a chance to win," Waters said. "There were four of us together for the first half of the race. Some of them went out ahead a little bit, but I didn't want to go after them. I just tried to run every mile in a little under 6:30 and I caught up to them."
The women's race wasn't nearly as close. Jackie Melchior, of Olathe, Kan., was never challenged. The 42-year-old crossed the finish line at JFK Promenade in Sea Isle City in 3:05:12, well ahead of 2010 champion Lauren O'Neill, 26, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., who finished in 3:14:55.
Melchior's time was the second-fastest by a woman in the 14-year history of the race, topped only by the 3:00:29 run by Jacquie Merritt in the inaugural ODM in 1999.
"Every time I enter a race, I want to win and I want a P.R. (personal record)," said Melchior, who is operations manager for Kansas City Tree Care, LLC. "I accomplished both of those goals today."
More than 1,000 runners signed up for the marathon, topping the record of 904 set last year. Race officials speculated that around 900 actually started the race at 9 a.m. on Beach Ave. in Cape May. Only 676 had completed the trek within the official six-hour time limit, though approximately a half-dozen other runners were still on the course