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Training partners dominate throughout Las Vegas marathon

In the most dominant run by a Las Vegas duo since Siegfried &Roy, Jeffrey Eggleston and Andy Wacker teamed up to finish first and second in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday night on the Strip.

The Boulder, Colo., training partners took turns in the lead on each of the first 10 miles as they ran away from the field before Eggleston pulled away for the victory in 1:03:24. Wacker placed second, in 1:03:49.

“My job is to keep us on pace. We alternated the lead until one of us is tired,” Eggleston said. “No. 10 was my mile. I think we ran 4:54. He said, ‘Just go. Keep it.’ ”

Said Wacker: “I’m really happy for Jeff. We worked together in the race to run as fast as we could. I couldn’t have done it without him. He couldn’t have done it without me.”

Eggleston, the second-fastest American marathoner of the year with a personal-record 2:10:52 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Queensland, Australia, is training for the Dec. 7 Fukuoka Marathon in Japan. He ran six miles Sunday morning as part of his regimen, and Wacker said his strength was the difference.

“His training for the marathon really showed. We went through 10 miles in 48:12, which is a great pace,” he said. “I was doing the best I could to hang on. He kept going the same pace, which is incredible.”

Eggleston, who placed eighth in April’s Boston Marathon and was coming off a wire-to-wire win at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Marathon, was self-coached since graduating from the University of Virginia and trained alone before teaming up with Wacker, a former All-American at Colorado, in July.

“We just have really compatible personalities,” said Eggleston, who could be in the mix to make the U.S. Olympic team in the marathon in 2016.

The 30-year-old said he loved the atmosphere in his first race in Las Vegas.

“It’s electric,” he said. “It’s unlike any other race I’ve been a part of. I didn’t know how it’d be to run at night under the lights, but it was really cool. There was a lot of energy. I was feeding off the crowd out there.”

■ WOMEN’S HALF — Lindsey Scherf was the women’s winner in the half-marathon with a time of 1:14:15. The 28-year-old from Chapel Hill, N.C. was never threatened as she topped Ukraine’s Anna Nosenko (1:14:45) en route to her second Rock ‘n’ Roll event of the year (St. Louis).

Scherf, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard and a master’s in kinesiology from Michigan, hopes to win the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon grand prix, which comes with a prize of $15,000. She said she would use the money to pay off some student loans.

“That won’t make a chip in the student loans,” she said.

■ CELEBRITY RUNNERS — Sean Astin of “Rudy” and “Lord of the Rings” fame finished the marathon in 5:03:53. The 43-year-old has run eight marathons in four states as he pursues his goal of running a full marathon in all 50 states and all seven continents. He has been running since he was a teenager but had to stop during the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

“When we did ‘Lord of the Rings’ I wasn’t allowed to run at all because I was supposed to be really fat,” he said. “I put on all this weight to play the fat hobbit and they said, ‘You can’t run.’ ”

The 5-foot-7-inch Astin said filming “Rudy” was tougher than a marathon.

“Because it was outside of my comfort zone,” he said. “I’m not little, but I was compared to the 6-2, 300-pound guys that were hitting me. It hurt.”

TV host Mario Lopez ran the Zappos.com ½ of the Half. He has run four marathons, including Boston and New York City, but is nursing a torn rotator cuff.

■ WHEELCHAIR WINNERS — Corey Petersen was the women’s wheelchair champion in the marathon with a time of 2:24:53, and Mark Pierre was the men’s wheelchair champion (4:50:43).

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.

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