A runner told Antonio Marchi at the starting line of the 37th Bluegrass 10,000 that he picked him to win. Thirty-one minutes and 44 seconds after the gun went off, the man was proven right.
Marchi, 24, took an early lead in the light rain and never looked back. He finished Thursday 1:21 ahead of second-place finisher Glen Mays.
"I was going fast but I didn't feel like I was sprinting," Marchi said of his opening mile. He went through the first mile in five minutes flat.
"I've known him since I moved here. He's a tough runner," Mays, 42, said of Marchi. "There's not many people who can stay with him and I wasn't about to try."
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Mays finished in 33:05.
Marchi is a Henry Clay grad and was a runner at Berea College. In last year's Bluegrass 10,000 he finished third, one spot ahead of Mays, and in 2011 he finished fifth.
This year he was practically the only runner in sight headed back on Richmond Road while the rest of the field cheered him as they moved out of the downtown area.
Marchi says that the rain was not a problem. It started right before the race began.
"It was a very light rain and it's not cold and it's not windy," Marchi said. "It didn't affect me."
Mays thought the rain was a good thing.
"It was perfect," Mays said. "It was keeping it cool."
Marchi gives credit to last year's winner, Kevin Castille, for helping him with the win. Castille, 41, was absent from Thursday's race. Instead he is racing in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Masters Championships next weekend.
"I need to tell Kevin Castille about the race because I've been training a lot with him," Marchi said. "A lot of the pieces of training I've done with him ... which I think has helped me a lot."
Castille also gave Marchi advice for beating the field.
"He told me to look at the field, don't go out too hard," Marchi said.
Marchi said that he was following that advice, although it may not have looked like it.
"I wasn't going too hard," Marchi said. He said he thought to himself after going through the first mile 3 seconds faster than last year, "This is a good pace. I want to run faster than last year."
Marchi's time this year was 33 seconds faster than last year.
Mays, a Lexington resident, also bested his time from last year, by 14 seconds. Unlike Marchi, who was alone for almost the entire race, Mays was in a small pack for a majority of the race.
■ In the wheelchair race Greg Queen, 38, successfully defended his title using a crank wheelchair. The Lily resident finished in 20:19 to win his ninth title in a row. Lexington's David Hartsek finished second, a crank wheelchair user as well. Paul Erway of Shelbyville was the third wheelchair participant to cross the finish line, but the first using a push wheelchair. He finished in 34:57.
Top 10 male finishers
1. Antonio Marchi 31:44
2. Glen Mays 33:04
3. Jeff Buhr 33:17
4. Nicholas Laureano 33:24
5. Thomas Chaillou 33:53
6. Samuel Morgan 33:59
7. Adam Martin 34:13
8. Ronnoh Adams 34:27
9. Jonathan Feddock 34:36
10. Mathew Bendure 35:40
Overall 29:14: 1983, Mark Nenow
Standard Wheelchair, Men 24:19: 1996, Paul Dietrich
Crank Wheelchair, Men 17:52: 2011, Greg Queen