Jonathan Garrett didn't know what to expect going into his first marathon, but he knew he wasn't ready to give up running after college so he wanted to give it a try.
In his return to competitive racing, Garrett won the 2009 Heart of Wichita Marathon men's race, covering the 26.2 miles in a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes.
Raquel Stucky won the women's race with a time of 2:56:26.
Both winners were well ahead of last year's times, especially Stucky, who finished 17 minutes ahead of Pam McCall's winning time of 3:13:00.
Garrett, 24, ran collegiately at Pittsburg State and graduated in May.
"It feels terrible, that was my first marathon and I didn't know what it would be like," Garrett said. "I was going to try to go easy for the first eight miles or so and then start to push it, but I couldn't do it. I got into it and just started racing."
Stucky, 34, ran collegiately at Southwestern and is from Pretty Prairie. Unlike Garrett, she's far from an amateur in marathons.
"I did Chicago two years ago and didn't have a great race. I did New York last year and didn't have a great race and this year, I was just training anyway," Stucky said. "I love fall marathons and thought I would just stay close to home. I really didn't expect much, I just wanted to come out here and enjoy this nice day, it made it a lot easier."
The course stretched from Derby to its finish in Old Town Plaza.
After spending so much energy in the first part of the race, the finish couldn't come soon enough for Garrett.
"The last six miles were terrible, incredible pain," Garrett said. "I only ran a 10K once and that was the farthest I had raced before this but I just love running and am not ready to give it up."
With the wins, Garrett and Stucky qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon on April 14, 2010.
"It's a consideration definitely, I've never done it and I think sometimes you take those things for granted and I think I want to go for the experience," Stucky said.
Garrett wasn't so sure he would go, let alone race another marathon.
"I'm not sure I'll ever do another marathon after that, as bad as that hurts," Garrett said. "I'm sure I'll change my mind, but I don't plan on racing another one anytime soon."