Bellingham, WA - Mount Baker High School and Gonzaga University alum Dillon Quintana won the Bellingham Bay Half-Marathon in downtown Bellingham on Sunday, September 30th with a personal best time of 1:08:10, a win that was nearly five minutes faster than the 2nd place finisher.
Quintana has run a half-marathon before this year, but has never raced one before. He has been looking forward to this race for a long time and said he enjoyed every minute of the race.
"I just wanted to get out their and have fun," said Quintana. "It was my debut for finishing up college athletics. The goal was to hit 68 minutes and see if I could run 5:15's for the entire time. I have done some good workouts prior to the race that have shown I could do that."
With no clue about what kind of competition would show up, Quintana didn't feel overwhelmed about racing such a long distance with some fast guys that would be up with him and visualized the race as a long workout.
"There wasn't any pressure going into the race. Either someone would show up or it would just be me, but I kind of thought of it as a big tempo run. That was the whole mindset, so no stress at all."
The only competition Quintana would have the entire time was for the first 1.5 miles into the race. Soon after the 2nd runner fell off, Quintana was handed the keys and had all the control for the rest of the race. The only person still with him for the next 11.6 miles was the pace bike.
"After the guy I was running with at the beginning fell off me, I just put my focus on the biker who was pacing me. I just made sure I didn't get too unreasonable as far as pace wise."
Quintana mentioned he did start feeling the pain near the end of the race with about less than 2 miles to go after coming up Taylor Dock in Fairhaven. With not many miles left in the race, his best option was just to push through the pain till the very end and send it home for the victory. The thrill of finishing the race in downtown was by far a motivator to give it his all.
Winning a race in Whatcom County in front of his friends, family, and coach meant a lot to Quintana and it will be a moment he will not forget for a quite some time. Overall, he was definitely satisfied about his performance.
"It was a lot of fun running in my hometown. Very even splits, which always makes me happy. It is always good to run it all out versus blowing it up. Like I said, I had a lot of fun."
Quintana will continue his training over the next couple of months for his next race which he says is still unknown, but should have an idea in the next week or so.