‘Hometown girl’ takes top female spot in Mercedes Half Marathon

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Birmingham’s Erica Speegle credited her performance in Saturday’s 2014 Mercedes Half-Marathon to her comfort level in running as a “hometown girl.”

Speegle was the top female finisher with a time of

 Mercedes MarathonBirmingham’s Erica Speegle raises her arms as she crosses the finish line as the first female finisher of the half-marathon. The 2014 Mercedes Marathon, half-marathon and relay race run Sunday February 16, 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama (Frank Couch/fcouch@al.com)

1:15:43. She also finished 16th overall in the race.

“It was really the perfect day and run,” she said. “I ran alongside a friend and it just felt like it was a training run. And I had people cheering me on the whole way through.”

She said that the Birmingham crowd gave her encouragement and strength to finish the race strong.

“It’s really great being a hometown girl and getting the win,” she said. “The weather was perfect, and I feel like this is the best turnout we’ve ever had.”

Speegle usually focuses on marathons, and recently qualified in the Olympic Trials as a marathoner. This year, though, she’s focusing on shorter distance runs.

“I’m focusing on half-marathons like this, the shorter distances,” she said, “getting myself ready for the marathons.”

When she crossed the finish line, Speegle said she had the satisfaction of having friendly faces by her side and in the crowd.

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source: AL by Cheryl Wray

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