Local Runners Prevail at Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon

Tibebu Proctor, Jennifer Bergman claim half marathon victories; Blake Hilty and Shelby Mills won the men’s and women’s marathon, respectively; Race weekend debuted a brand new stadium to stadium course - SEATTLE – June 18, 2017 – For Tibebu Proctor, life is good. Last week, the 18-year-old everyone calls Tibs graduated from high school. Then this week, he won the Alaska Airlines Rock ’n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon.

“It was good,” said Proctor, who finished the 13.1-mile course in a time of 1 hour, 9 minutes and 4 seconds. “I really liked the course. It was beautiful. This is great weather to run in. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

A standout distance runner at The Northwest School in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Proctor won a state championship at the Class 1A cross country meet in the fall. In a few months, he will continue his running career at the University of Washington.

With his future home and Alaska Airlines Husky Stadium as the backdrop for the start of this year’s Rock ’n’ Roll event, it was the perfect setting for Proctor to put together another outstanding performance.

“It will be my future stadium, since I’ll be running there next year, so it was good,” said Proctor, who was running his third half marathon. “This half marathon helps prepare me for that, so I’m excited for the future.”

As he made his way from one stadium to another (CenturyLink Field), Proctor used the downhill portions of the course to hold off other runners.

“They were with me the first four or five miles and then there was a downhill,” said Proctor, whose mother and brother found several opportunities to form a cheering section. “I kept pushing downhill, because when you do this kind of a race, if you know how to run downhill, that will win you the race. If you push downhill, you’re not going to get tired, because your body is pushing you forward.”

When asked what he thought of this year’s new course, Proctor said, “I ran this last year, too, and I think (the new course) from here to there is much better.”

Matt Chorney, 28, finished second, just 20 seconds behind Proctor, while Roosevelt Cook, 37, finished third in 1:09:41.

After hitting a winning time of 1:17:28 in the women’s half marathon, Jennifer Bergman said the Seattle course was the hilliest she’s competed in. It provided a nice challenge for the 25-year-old. 

“I’ve never run a course that was that hilly the whole time – you’re either going a little bit down or a little bit up,” she said. “It was different, but it was fun, though. I just focused on the water. You’ll be there soon. The water is peaceful, running is not.”

Bergman said it helped to have second-place finisher Heather Tanner pushing her late in the race.

“She pushed me,” Bergman said. “She went for it.”

Tanner finished less than 10 seconds behind Bergman (1:17:37), while Sarah Robinson finished third (1:19:40).

Blake Hilty started running in college as a way to get in shape. He’s run more than 10 marathons in his life, but the Seattle-based attorney went from weekend warrior to winner. The 35-year-old won the marathon finishing the 26.2-mile course in 2:38.57.

“It felt really good,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve ever won one. The weather was great. The course was good. I really liked it.”

With a young daughter at home and a demanding job, Hilty wakes up around 4 a.m. each morning to train. Adding to the satisfaction of this year’s win, Hilty was competing for a good cause, running as a St. Jude Hero. 

“I just saw an advertisement for it and thought it would be a good idea,” he said.

JT Newcomb finished second in the race (2:41:25), while Masanori Okabe (2:42:12) was third.

Shelby Mills decided to run her first marathon on her 23rd birthday. It was a good decision. Not only did the former runner at Gonzaga who lives in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood finish with a strong time (2:45:38), she won the race.

“It’s my first one,” she said with a laugh. “I ran in college, so I just graduated in 2016. I’ve been running a lot and I figured, before I put my mileage back down I’d do a marathon while I was still up there.”

Sophia Liu (2:50:38) finished second, while Devon Yanko (2:55:52) was third.

Sunday’s races capped a new two-day format for the event. Racing started Saturday with the Alaska Airlines Rock ’n’ Roll 5K presented by Brooks in Tukwila at the Museum of Flight. Runners who competed on both days earned a Remix Challenge medal in addition to their finisher medals.

That wasn’t the only change to this year’s event, with the course now weaving from the city’s college football stadium to its NFL stadium. The event culminated with Toyota Rock ’n’ Roll Concert Series headliner Mayer Hawthorne.

The Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon will celebrate 10-years on June 17, 2018. Special pre-sale registration is available online at RunRocknRoll.com.

2017 Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon Results

Name, Age, Hometown, Time, Prize

Men's Marathon

  1. Blake Hilty, 35, Seattle, WA, 2:38:57, $500
  2. JT Newcomb, 29, Portland, OR, 2:41:25
  3. Masanori Okabe, 36, Moses Lake, WA, 2:42:12

Women’s Marathon

  1. Shelby Mills, 23, Snohomish, WA, 2:45:38, $500
  2. Sophia Liu, 33, Kirkland, WA, 2:50:38
  3. Devon Yanko, 34, San Anselmo, CA, 2:55:52

Men’s Half Marathon

  1. Tibebu Proctor, 18, Seattle, WA, 1:09:04*
  2. Matt Chorney, 28, Jackson, WY, 1:09:24
  3. Roosevelt Cook, 37, Hesperia, CA, 1:09:41

Women’s Half Marathon

  1. Jennifer Bergman, 25, Portland, OR, 1:17:28, $250
  2. Heather Tanner, 39, Seattle, WA, 1:17:37
  3. Sarah Robinson, 33, Tacoma, WA, 1:19:40

*Not eligible for prize money due to NCAA eligibility

About Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon

Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon, a signature Seafair Event will take place the weekend of June 17 – 18, 2017. Runners can rock to the sounds of live, local bands along the course, keeping them motivated from start to finish. The event concludes with a finish line festival and concert. Runners who complete Sunday’s marathon or half marathon and Saturday’s 5K will earn a special Remix Challenge medal in addition to each race’s finisher medals. A two-day Health & Fitness Expo kicks off race weekend at CenturyLink Field Event Center on Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17. The Expo will have numerous vendors featuring the latest in running gear, nutrition and training tips. To register for the race or for more information, visit RunRocknRoll.com/Seattle or follow us on Twitter @RunRocknRoll.