MU student attempts record for fastest marathon in a suit

Monday, September 3, 2012 | 5:15 p.m. CDT; updated 10:10 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 3, 2012
COLUMBIA — The footsteps of hundreds of marathon runners pattered on the streets of south Columbia on a steamy Labor Day morning. Since 1960, the Columbia Track Club has hosted the Heart of America Marathon, which draws hundreds of people from all over the U.S. and Canada.

COLUMBIA — Steven Mankofsky needed a drink once he hit the wall in the 18th mile of his marathon in a suit on Monday morning. 

But instead of grabbing a Dixie cup at one of the 14 water stations across the 26.2-mile path, he popped open a beer.

Mankofsky crossed the finish line with a folded six-pack carton of Budweiser Select in hand. Along the way, he drank five bottles and gave one away.

“I'd recommend it,” he said, his clothes drenched in sweat. “If you’re ever running in a suit in a marathon I think beer is pretty healthy.”

Mankofsky, 22, failed to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon run in a suit at the 53rd annual Heart of America Marathon on Monday morning.

The first-year MU graduate student finished in 5 hours, 6 minutes and 9 seconds, well off Paul Buchanan’s record set in 2009 at the Lifestyles Sports – Adidas Dublin Marathon in Dublin. The Irishman crossed in 3 hours, 24 minutes and 46 seconds.

With temperatures in the mid 80s and humidity levels making it feel like the low 90s, the St. Louis native struggled to make it through the hilly course. He said he threw up six times early on in the race and then decided to take it easy for the rest of the time, when he decided to have happy hour on Route 163.

Mankofsky was not pleased with his finish, partly because he attempted this feat to raise money for the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. As of Aug. 30, he raised $1,478, and he will match the final total when donations end in two weeks.

After Mankofsky crossed the finish line in a white shirt, tan jacket and pants, and an orange and blue bow tie, he vowed never to run a marathon again — at least not while dressed in so many layers.

“It’s not what I wanted to do,” he said, referring to his end-time. “I had to finish. I can’t quit, so I tried to run, but my legs weren’t feeling it.

“I didn’t get as close as I wanted to, so this is it for suit running.”

As for the marathon winners, Justin Gillette of Goshen, Ind., won the men’s race for the second consecutive year with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes and 50 seconds.  This was marathon victory number 50 for the 29-year-old in 104 total races. He set a personal record of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 44 seconds last October at the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pa.

On the women’s side, Columbia’s Whitney Dreier won her first marathon in 3 hours, 29 minutes and 40 seconds. She is the editor at Inside Columbia magazine and reported on Mankofsky in early August.

“He was doing well until halfway and you could just see the sweat coming from his suit,” she said.

The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri annually distributes over 28 million pounds of food to 135 agencies and 138 schools throughout 32 counties, according to its website.  Monetary donations can be made on the Food Bank website and food can be dropped off at 2101 Vandiver Drive, Columbia, MO 65202.

Supervising editor is Jacob Kirn.

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