Josh Eberly gives brotherly aid to ex-classmate at Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon

Josh Eberly gives brotherly aid to ex-classmate at Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon

Provided by Denver Post

Before winning the half- marathon Sunday, Josh Eberly helped his buddy win the marathon.

Eberly has already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon, but Chris Siemers, his old classmate at Western State, hadn't. So early on, the two ran side by side in Sunday's Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon and Half-Marathon.

"It was more of helping my buddy out," said Eberly, who ended up winning the half with a time of 1:06:57. "I was just trying to control him and relax him — I didn't really care who else was in the race."

Siemers qualified for the trials with his time of 2:18:18, winning Sunday's marathon.

And Eberly, 31, picked up another victory in his preparation for January's


trials. The Gunnison resident set his personal record of 1:04:53 in 2008 in a race in Houston.

In the women's half-marathon, Lidia Simon, 38, crossed the finish line first at 1:14:54. The Romanian enjoyed the bands along the route.

"Sometimes I feel like I have to dance," she said.

Vanderheiden pushes his friend to finish.

Dennis Vanderheiden of Fort Collins crossed the finish line while pushing a stroller- type apparatus, which carried his good friend. Twelve-year-old James Waechter suffers from cerebral palsy but was able to enjoy Sunday's half-marathon thanks to Vanderheiden's nonprofit called Athletes In Tandem.

"I match up athletes with kids with disabilities who can't do races of their own," he said. "I do triathlons, running events.

"Today was a race where I was getting tired. We build relationships with the parents and the kids; we understand what they go through every day. So when you think about that, it makes your own life a little simpler."

Runners racing to the finish.

One of the more entertaining moments of the day happened early in the half-marathon before the packs of runners were crossing the finish line. With the spotlight on them, Kyle Bevers of Fort Collins and Raymond Torres of Westminster — who had never met — suddenly found themselves sprinting side by side to the finish. The crowd and the public-address announcer got into it.

"I heard his feet," Bevers said. "We were about 300 yards. I took off, he took off too. It's just competition — we all respect each other out here, all trying to achieve the same goals."

Hey, Elvis was running the course too.

There were an array of runners dressed in zany outfits Sunday, such as the multiple gents dressed as Elvis Presley , the guy in a bright- green tuxedo, a woman with angel wings, a guy in a hat made famous by the band Devo, a kid dressed as a banana and a shirtless fellow with a black cape. And perhaps the most creative T-shirt read: "Sea level is for sissies."

Benjamin Hochman, The Denver Post