Two elite level female runners who recently moved to South Carolina took top honors in the 7th Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday.
Esther Erb Atkins, 30, moved to Greenville with husband, Charleston native Cole Atkins, in August and ran the marathon with the intent to set a state record.
She did just that - pending the submission and acceptance of paperwork to the state's USA Track & Field official - by finishing in two hours, 46 minutes and 41 seconds.
That shaves a chunk off of the current record, set by North Charleston resident Caitlin Judd Batten, of 2:49:03 at the Kiawah Island Marathon in 2015. That performance by a S.C. resident was the first time the state record was broken since 1986.
Yet Atkins, who was the national marathon champion in 2013, can run the marathon faster. She viewed Saturday's effort as a kickoff to her training for the Boston Marathon, to be held April 17, as part of the John Hancock elite team.
She has a goal of running Boston in the 2:30 range in the hopes of setting a new personal best. Her previous best is 2:33:15 at Boston in 2015. Atkins is a veteran of two Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing 27th in 2012 and 11th in 2016.
Her performance at Saturday's marathon was better than all but two males, which logged the slowest winning field in the event's history.
Jeffrey Greene, 39, of Leesburg, Va., won the marathon with a time of 2:44:55, which is about 10 minutes slower than past winning finishes at the Charleston Marathon.
"I run marathons for fun," said Greene, "This is the first time I've won one."
Another new Palmetto State resident, Shannon Miller of Moncks Corner, won the Charleston Half Marathon in 1:25:23 and also is an Olympic Marathon Trials caliber runner.
She was training for the 2016 event when she suffered from anemia, which is relatively common in top performing female runners.
That physical struggle and the need to be near her parents and in warm weather prompted Miller, who had been living in Boulder, Co., then New York, to move to Moncks Corner.
Miller moved to the area the same week of Hurricane Matthew in October and has dived into the local running scene. Last fall, she won the James Island Connector Run 10K and the Sweet Tea Half Marathon in Summerville and well as logged top five performances in the very competitive Turkey Day and Reindeer Run 5Ks.
The male winner of the Charleston Half Marathon wasn't even planning on doing it a week ago when a winter storm dumped snow on a race that he planned to run.
Brett Morley, 24, of Greenville was pleased with his time of 1:08:34, which was just a minute slower than his personal best, because he spent much of December suffering with bronchitis.
He considered the effort a "tune-up" for USA Track & Fields Half Marathon Championship in Columbus, Ohio, in April.
The winners of the 5K had similar experiences to this year's marathon champions.
Alexandra Cadicamo of Philadelphia, who won the Charleston Half Marathon in 2013, beat all but one male in the race with her time of 18:16.
Male winner, University of South Carolina sophomore Robert Carter of Woodstock, Ga., woke up at 3 a.m. and drove to the race by himself with no intent to win.
But 19-year-old's time of 17:49 took the top spot overall.
Complete results are available at http://georesults.racemine.com/Harris-Teeter-Neighborhood-Food-Pharmacy/events/2017/2017-CHARLESTON-MARATHON/results