As Tough As It Gets

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Tim Sykes placed second at the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, Va., last April. 

What is America’s toughest marathon? Ask Tim Sykes.

The Lexington, Va., native placed second at the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, Va., dubbed America’s Toughest for its long climbs and steep descents along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As a result, Sykes won free entry into the Mount Lemmon Marathon, ten miles north of Tucson, Ariz., which also claims to be “America’s Toughest Marathon.” Race organizers for both marathons have made light of the dueling slogans by offering entry into their cross-country counterpart for the top 20 finishers in each—a friendly promotion that Sykes took advantage of, despite being married for only a week on race day. (Perhaps tougher than the marathon was convincing his new bride to take a marathon honeymoon.)

Sykes ended up winning the entirely uphill Mount Lemmon Marathon in 3:05. Hopefully, Sykes’ marriage will also go the distance.


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