Only a week after the conclusion of the Chicago Marathon, another major marathon event saw its grand finale on Saturday in the iconic city of Baltimore, Maryland. As part of the Baltimore Running Festival 2023, this grueling 26.2-mile race attracted an impressive 11,000 runners from every state in the U.S.
and 15 countries worldwide. Emerging from this vast sea of competitors, 35-year-old American long-distance runner, Zachary Ripley, secured the coveted first-place position. This astonishing win left spectators in awe of Ripley's evident prowess on the track.
Post-race, he shared insights and emotions in an exclusive interview with WBAL TV11. The name Zachary Ripley may have been previously under the radar for many, but following his outstanding first-place finish in a staggering 2 hours, 28 minutes, and 17 seconds, he's skyrocketed to nationwide recognition.
"The feeling is surreal," Ripley shared. "In a race so full of energy and potential winners, I'm grateful for the result today. Running at such a level is truly a blessing."
Ripley's Running Odyssey
Ripley's passion for marathons shone through as he elaborated on the day's race.
"I've shifted from chasing times to simply competing and enjoying the journey. There were moments, especially early on, when I was surrounded by an amazing group of runners. That camaraderie, that shared spirit, it's what I run for," Ripley expressed.
Tracing back, Ripley's journey in long-distance running began in 2009. He first tasted the marathon thrill in 2014 in Detroit, followed by participation in the globally-renowned Chicago Marathon in 2015. However, post-2016, he momentarily stepped away from the spotlight.
Fast-forward to 2023, after a seven-year hiatus, Ripley's triumphant return to the track at the Baltimore Marathon is nothing short of cinematic. What's more, this win has earned him a ticket to the Olympic trials for the 2024 games.
Ripley's transformative journey from a budding runner to a marathon champion epitomizes the relentless spirit and dedication intrinsic to athletes. As he gears up for the Olympic trials, his narrative echoes the sentiment: on the marathon track, it truly could be anyone's day.