Cottonwood’s Jordan Bramblett wins NAIA national marathon championship
2014 Mingus grad averages 5:51 a mile for 26.2-mile distance
GULF SHORES ALABAMA – Jordan Bramblett could not have written a better script to call it a day for the final race of his college career.
Saturday, the 2014 Mingus Union High School graduate who on May 4 also graduated from Embry Riddle University, was crowned the 2019 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national champion in the marathon.
It was the second consecutive year for Bramblett to earn All American NAIA honors in the marathon as he finished seventh in the race one year ago, covering the 26.2-mile distance in 2 hours, 43.25 minutes.
This year, Bramblett took control of the race after 8 miles and was an easy winner in 2:33.43, or an average of 5 minutes, 51 seconds for 26-plus miles.
Bramblett won the race by more than 5 minutes over the No. 2 runner.
“It was pretty hot down here today, so I knew it would not be a really fast race,” Bramblett told The Verde Independent. “But this is about what I have been running in practice.”
Because of the heat, Bramblett said he ran the first circuit of the four-lap course in cruise control.
“At the start of the second lap I broke away,” said Bramblett, who really opened up a gap on the rest of the field between the 8- and 10-mile marks with back-to-back miles in 5:45 and 5:30.
Beginning at about mile 18, Bramblett said the mental strain of the marathon definitely set it.
“At mile 18-19, my legs got tired and the last 10K was pretty tough,” said Bramblett. “I did not know how close they were so I kept pushing so they would not come get me. At 20 miles, I looked back and no one was there. I knew then if I kept pace at better than 6 minutes a mile I would win.”
In addition to his marathon personal best Saturday, Bramblett completed his senior season for Embry Riddle with PRs in the half marathon (1:11.29) and 10,000 meters (30:46). He also ran 5,000 this season in 14:59, which was just 5 seconds off his personal 5K best from 2018.
Bramblett said he hopes to run another half marathon in August or September before contesting the Chicago Marathon Oct. 13, where he hopes to run a time fast enough to allow him to compete in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.