Women's marathon: 'Detroit is my lucky town,' says Wioletta Kryza

Women's marathon: 'Detroit is my lucky town,' says Wioletta Kryza

Provided by Detroit Free Press

Victory hugs.

One thing was certain: Wioletta Kryza wanted to share her glory after winning her second Free Press/Talmer Bank women's marathon title in six years Sunday.

After crossing the finish line, Kryza wrapped her arms around several race volunteers before saving her biggest embrace for Denise Costesco, who has been hosting Kryza in her Commerce Township home since Wednesday.

Kryza, who lives in Olsztyn, Poland, won the race in 2:44:09, 46 seconds ahead of Serena Kessler of Ann Arbor (2:44:55). Amy Hauswirth of Hancock was third (2:45:48).

When Kryza won the Free Press Marathon in 2005 (in a time of 2:40:46), the race finished on the 50-yard line at Ford Field. Her victory then had come nearly two years after she served a two-year suspension because of a positive drug test, which disqualified her as winner of the 2002 Pittsburgh Marathon, according to news reports at the time.

A veteran marathoner, Kryza -- whom at 43 also claimed the women's masters title Sunday -- said she had run 72 marathons in her 22-year career. Last March she was among the runners who participated in the inaugural Jerusalem international marathon. She took third.

Kryza said Sunday's race was special because it was her 28th victory at the 26.2-mile distance. Runners battled wind gusts and intermittent light rain throughout the day.

"I am very happy," she said. "Detroit is my lucky town."

Kryza pulled away from Kessler, 39, with about 4 miles to go. As she contemplated making her move, she said her coach said to her: "Wioletta, do you have the power?"

"I have good (memories) here and the course is very good," Kryza said. "It's not for the time. It's for the win. If the weather was good, I'd run below 2:40."

In addition to being a two-time winner, Kryza has also finished second twice. She said part of the fun in returning to Detroit this time was catching up with Costesco, 35, a former national runner from Romania. The two became friends in the late 1990s at the world cross-country championships. Costesco moved to the Detroit area eight years ago.

While Kryza got in some runs around Costesco's home, there was one excursion that was worth driving to: Twelve Oaks Mall.

"She loves shopping here," Costesco said as she nodded in Kryza's direction.

The two friends laughed. Just like old times.