TEMPLE — Matt Buchhorn, 28, of Sherman, was feeling good about his chances of winning the Army Marathon III on Sunday morning. 

He had completed 15 miles of the 26.2-mile Killeen-to-Temple course. Out of several hundred competitors, Buchhorn noticed only one other runner was close by, Matt Curtis, 33, of Waxahachie.

“I had gotten off to a good start in this race,” Buchhorn said. “And then, I was feeling really good after I finished those first 15 miles. And so I just tried to motivate myself to keep going.”

All at once, the 5-foot-9, 135-pound Buchhorn took off.

“It was after the 15-mile point where he just decided that he was winning the race,” said Curtis of Buchhorn. “He started flying. All of a sudden, I couldn’t even see him anymore.”

It was around the 18-mile point that Buchhorn knew he was flying solo.

“I felt pretty good about my chances then,” Buchhorn said. “I never looked back to see if anyone was near me. I felt strong. My last miles were about 6:20s (6 minutes, 20 seconds). The last 5 miles, I actually kept feeling stronger with each mile. I had never won a marathon before so I was running on excitement and adrenaline.”

And he was running for his father.

“My father served in the Army in the 1960s and that motivated me,” Buchhorn said. “This race is for a good cause. I was proud to be a participant.”

Buchhorn finished the race in two hours, 53 minutes and 25 seconds, more than seven minutes ahead of Curtis who took third. Runner-up Paul Box, 34, of Waxahachie, finished with a time of 2:59:57.

“I do like to compete,” Buchhorn said. “My PR (personal record) is 2:39. But for these conditions (rainy, cold and windy), I’m happy with the time.”

Buchhorn is a track and cross country coach at Austin College in Sherman. Winning the Army Marathon III in his first-ever appearance ought to get the attention of his athletes.

“Yep,” Buchhorn said with a chuckle, “hopefully the athletes I coach won’t be able to make any excuses now. I’ll tell them, ‘Hey, if I can do this, you can do this.’ I will certainly try to use this to motivate them.”

After the marathon, Buchhorn didn’t appear anywhere close to exhaustion. Heck, he wasn’t even breathing heavy.

“The truth is, I probably could keep going, keep running,” he said with a smile. “On the other hand, I’ll just get something to eat and get out of the cold. I’m done for the day.”

Contact Allan Mandell at amandell@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com

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