The wheelchair racers at Grandma’s Marathon June 18 were rocketing down the shore this year as both winners, Aaron Pike and Susannah Scaroni, set new course records while racing against a field of competitors from 13 different countries.
Both winners are familiar names for the fans of Grandma’s. Scaroni won the women’s race in 2014, 2018 and 2019, in which she set the previous course record and personal best of 1:30:42. In a massive breakthrough, the 31-year-old from Urbana, Illinois, flew down the course Saturday more than three minutes faster, winning in 1:27:31.
This was her second big race in just a few months. Scaroni also wheeled at Boston, where she finished second to Manuela Schär of Switzerland.
Jenna Fesemyer, 25, of Champaign, Illinois, was second in 1:33:50, and Noemi Alphonse, 26, of Port Louis, Mauritius, was third in 1:35:14. The island resident from the Indian Ocean also set a personal record—improving her previous best time by nearly 40 minutes.
Pike had also finished second at Boston this year. At Grandma’s though, he was ready to face Johnboy Smith of Britain (the 2021 winner), Rafael Botello Jimenez of Spain (the 2007 winner), and Patrick Monahan of Ireland (second in 2019).
The Champaign, Illinois, resident led from the start and put together 3:04-minute miles to careen into the record books with a time of 1:20:02. The time was a personal best for the Park Rapids native. Pike’s father was in the military, which took their family from their Hubbard County home around the world.
Saturday’s record-breaking times by the wheelers were echoed by the runners: both marathon winners, Dominic Ondoro and Dakotah Lindwurm, ran the second-fastest times ever on the course.