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Sunday, January 9, 2011

IM Texas Registrants Lawton, O'Brien-Nolen Win 12th Annual Texas Marathon

     The New Year got started off on the right foot for a pair of Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas registrants as Cypress' Daniel Lawton and Kingwood's Jacqueline O'Brien-Nolen won the 12th annual Texas Marathon in Kingwood, Texas on New Year's Day.
     Both Lawton and O'Brien-Nolen were past winners of the event.
     Lawton, 30, easily won the 2008 race by more than 13 minutes when he notched the event's fourth best overall time of 2:46:50, while O'Brien-Nolen, 45, won three of the first four races in 2000, 2002 and 2003.
     The high school cross country coach trailed the race's 2009 winner, Kurt Klewin, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for the first of the marathon's four loops before overtaking the lead before the halfway point.
     Lawton held a three-minute lead on Houston's Jose Acosta after 18.65 miles before holding on for a one-minute, 41-second win in two hours, 44 minutes and 39 seconds.
     Meanwhile, O'Brien-Nolen wasn't a factor for the first 6.55 miles.
     She let Springfield, Missouri's Jessica Lakin, 41, set the early pace to go through the halfway point in an hour and 41 minutes while O'Brien-Nolen was content to remain in fourth place behind the leader, Kingwood's Cindy Smoot and Lake Charles, Louisiana's Stacey Miller.
     O'Brien-Nolen started to smell blood, though, at the end of the third loop.
     She had cut Lakin's lead to less than two minutes and came into the turnaround in third place -- just seconds behind Miller.
     And then she used a last loop of 54 minutes and 15 seconds to record a decisive 86-second, 3:35:10 win over Houston's Sue Wheeler.
     Lawton will be shooting for his first Ironman finish in May, while O'Brien-Nolen has three career iron distance finishes -- Ironman Louisville (12:38:05, 2007), Redman (12:35:07, 2008) and Ironman Florida (12:22:20, 2009).

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