First-timer wins 37th MCM

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First-timer wins 37th MCM

Despite hurricane warnings and windy conditions 30,000 runners braved the 37th Marine Corps Marathon. Among them, Spc. Augustus Maiyo, a first-time marathoner and this year’s winner with an unofficial time of 2:20:20.

“I didn’t really have control [of the race] until the last mile, ” said Maiyo. “At the 18 Mile I was feeling strong. I didn’t know what was in front of me, it was busy but at the 20 Mile everyone was gone.”

Maiyo’s training team friend Capt. Kenneth Foster, also representing the U.S. Army finished second with an unofficial time of 2:22:34 and was followed by Birhanu Tadesse, a native of Ethiopia, who clocked in at 2:23:03.

Foster, currently stationed in Fort Huachuca, Arizona is a military intelligence officer in the process of completing the Captain’s Career Course.

“I have a final exam actually on Tuesday so during the flight and all last week I’ve been studying pretty intensely,” said Foster. “I probably didn’t get as much sleep as I should have but I just wanted to represent the Army and do well.”

The top female finisher Hirut Guanqul, of Ellicott City, MD, surprised everyone by snagging first place with an unofficial time of 2:42:03. She was followed by Abebe Wayinshet Hailu (2:47:03) and Erin Richard (2:48:10) of Rochester Hills, MI.

“I loved the loop.  Everywhere you went was something different and there were people everywhere cheering for you,” said Richard after completing her third marathon and first MCM.

Richard led the ladies for the first 19 miles of the course. After only running in marathon time trials, her goal at the MCM was to claim first.

“I was in a pack of guys the whole time and [Guanqul] was right behind me. At 19 I backed off a little bit and she took a couple steps ahead of me and the next thing I knew it was 100 feet. I was by myself for a while and was caught again just before 25 miles. [Hailu] went by me and was like, ‘Come on girl!’ I tried to go but even though you know you’re so close it’s so hard.”

"My target was to win this race so when I passed [Richard] I can imagine to win and I was very happy and comfortable," said Guanqul through an interpreter.  From that point on she knew she would finish first.  Guanqul was thrilled with her performance and the result, particularly after suffering a pulled left calf while running another marathon just last week.

The approaching storm held off for the start of the race, with dry, slightly windy conditions and temperatures in the low 60s.

“I prefer this weather but without the wind,” said Maiyo of the gusts that picked up shortly after the race began and continued through the morning.

Maiyo wasn’t the only runner affected by the 17 mph gusts.

“The conditions were ideal aside from the wind,” said Foster. “The temperature was great, the crowd support was great and you’re running in the nation’s capital and doing it with all four military branches here.”

“When you start to get tired and it starts to get windy it’s like a double hit,” said Richard. “I felt it more [at the end] but I don’t know if I was just getting tired or if it was picking up more.”

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Justin Williams calls the Caps' loss 'a reality check'

Justin Williams calls the Caps' loss 'a reality check'

PITTSBURGH—Justin Williams has seen a lot during his 16-year NHL career. But he's not sure he's ever been part of something as wild as Monday’s 8-7 loss to the Penguins.

“It snowballed too quickly for us,” Williams said at PPG Paints Arena. “All around, it was like a 1988 Smythe Division game out there, I think. Not something you want to do.”

Williams scored his 15th goal early in the second period to put the Caps ahead 3-0.

Then things got away from the visitors—quickly.

RELATED: Caps' win streak snapped in crazy loss to Penguins

The final regular season meeting between these bitter rivals sure

About five minutes later, Evgeni Malkin scored the first of his three goals while the teams skated four aside. Braden Holtby said the goal was one he should stop “all the time.” Coach Barry Trotz said it allowed Malkin and Co. to “seize” the game’s momentum.

Either way, Williams didn’t like the Caps’ initial response.

“You certainly know it’s not going to be easy,” Williams said. “We’re up 3-0. Things are going well. Things have gone well lately. But they’re not going to back away. They’re not going to say, ‘Alright, maybe next game.’ They’re going to come at you, and they did.”

The Penguins took 10 of the game’s next 12 shots. Four of them resulted in goals. The capacity crowd, which had been quiet for the first 25 minutes, suddenly came alive.  

Were some bad bounces involved? Sure. Nick Bonino found the puck on the doorstep after it hit him. Bryan Rust’s goal went in off of Ovechkin’s skate.

None of that helped, of course. But Williams still felt like the Caps, who came in riding a nine-game winning streak, could have and should have done more to keep the second period—and ultimately the game—from slipping away.

“Tonight was a good reality check just to say, ‘You know what? You’re not that good,” he said. “You still got to work for things. It’s not going to come easy for you.”

Williams added: “It was a good challenge for us. We came back multiple times. I’m proud of us for that. But, again, crappy game.”

Asked if there was anything positive that the Caps could take from the game, Williams bristled at the suggestion.

“Nothing,” he said. “I want to park it right now. I don’t want to watch it. I don’t want to see it. Obviously, if I have to I will. But just go back to working hard and go back to the drawing board and just hit the reset.”

MORE CAPITALS: NHL explains why the Malkin goal was not overturned

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Caps' win streak snapped in crazy, controversial 8-7 overtime loss to Penguins

Caps' win streak snapped in crazy, controversial 8-7 overtime loss to Penguins

PITTSBURGH—The final regular season meeting between these bitter rivals sure was a memorable one. 

After the Caps and Penguins combined for 14 goals in regulation, Conor Sheary scored the game winner in overtime, lifting Pittsburgh to a wild 8-7 victory at PPG Paints Arena. 

How it happened: The Caps took a quick 3-0 lead on goals Andre Burakovsky, Nicklas Backstrom and Justin Williams, whose goal at 1:17 of the second period meant the visitors had outscored their opponents 15-0 dating to the previous Penguins game on Jan. 11.

It wasn't nearly enough. Because during a wild 11 minute span in the second, the prolific Penguins  scored six of the game’s next eight goals—yes, six of eight, including an Evgeni Malkin hat trick. As a result, the Pens took a 6-5 lead into the final frame. 

The third period was almost as crazy. Sidney Crosby stretched Pittsburgh’s lead to 7-5 early. But the Caps fought back with goals from T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller, whose second tally of the night with 5:22 left to play sent the game to overtime.

Sheary didn’t need much time to decide it. The Pens’ winger dived headfirst into a pileup in the Caps’ crease and somehow managed to get enough of his stick on the puck to push it underneath Philipp Grubauer and off of Matt Niskanen’s skate. After a brief review, officials determined there was no goaltender interference. 

RELATED: Oshie's backhanded goal gets Caps within one

What it means: The Caps’ winning streak came to an end at nine games. But they kept their spot atop the NHL because both Columbus and Minnesota were off. 

Holtby’s night cut short: The reigning Vezina Trophy winner entered as one of the hottest goalies in the NHL, having recorded three shutouts in his previous five starts. Monday, however, was not his night. Trotz made a goalie switch after Holtby allowed a fifth goal on 15 second period shots, including goals by Bryan Rust and Malkin on back-to-back shots. Holtby yielded five goals on 26 shots.

Defense optional: The Caps came in allowing a league-low 1.91 goals against. So, yeah. 

Unsuccessful challenge: After winning a coach’s challenge against the Blackhawks, Trotz tried again to have a goal overturned on grounds of goaltender interference. This time, however, it didn’t work. Officials ruled that Patric Hornqvist did not prevent Grubauer from doing his job on Malkin’s third goal late in the second period.  

Holy O: The Caps have now scored five or more goals in four straight games and seven of the last 10. The seven goals against on Monday came from six different Caps (Burakovsky, Backstrom, Williams, Brett Connolly, Eller and Oshie). 

Getting physical: Alex Ovechkin didn’t score a goal but he dished out a game-high nine hits. The Caps’ captain also notched a pair of assists.

Looking ahead: The Caps will not practice on Tuesday. They’ll return to the ice Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in Arlington before departing on the annual Dad’s Trip, which will make stops in St. Louis and Dallas.

MORE CAPITALS: Eller pulls the Caps even at 5