Olympics: London Marathon

It was a tough day for American runners at the London Marathon.

Jason Lehmkuhle, who finished 13th, was the only U.S. man in the top 50. All running their first marathon, Stephan Shay, Mohamed Trafeh and Patrick Smyth stepped off the course for various reasons on a day when a new course record of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 40 seconds -- the fourth fastest marathon in history -- was set by Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai.

Lehmkuhle came in with high expectations only to log a 2:13:40, some 1:16 slower than his personal best.

"It wasn't awful, but it wasn't what I had in mind," said the Minnesota-based veteran who ran alone after Mile 11.

Trafeh ran with the lead pack, and Smyth lurked less than a minute behind until about halfway through the race when the brutal pace caused both of them to fade and eventually withdraw.

Shay dropped out at Mile 18, suffering from cramping and seasonal allergies.

"I tried to stay relaxed, and I initially stopped [running] thinking I could regain my composure and keep going," said Shay, the youngest brother of late distance runner Ryan Shay. "Then I realized, 'No way can I start up again.' It was a learning experience."

Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, the only U.S. woman in the elite field, fell well short of her goal to run a personal best, crossing the line in 23rd place in 2:31:22. A rapidly swelling blister on one toe and an upset stomach prompted her to stop at Mile 23. She considered ending her day there, but eventually swung back into stride.

"A disappointing race is better than a DNF -- emotionally, it takes less time to get over," said the 2008 Olympian.
Wheelchair racer Amanda McGrory knew she'd won her second London Marathon, but she didn't see the visual evidence until the press conference. After watching herself hold off Great Britain's Shelly Woods in the final sprint in a near-photo finish (and a course record of 1 hour 46 minutes 31 seconds), she heaved a sigh of relief.

"My stomach's back up in my throat," she said. "That was too close for comfort."

It was the second marathon triumph in a week for McGrory, 24, who was fresh off winning in Paris. Her distinguished resume also includes marathon championships in New York City and Chicago. McGrory was a quadruple medalist at the 2008 Paralympics, where she won the 5,000-meter event and finished second at the marathon.

McGrory was paralyzed at age 5 when an allergy shot damaged her spinal cord and triggered a rare illness called transverse myelitis. She grew up in suburban Philadelphia participating in wheelchair basketball and racing, and eventually made her way to the University of Illinois where she became one of the top wheelchair racers in the country and earned a degree in psychology.

McGrory lives in Champaign, Ill., and is continuing to train with Illinois coach Adam Bleakney. At the moment, she's supplementing her prize money by working at a spa, but she hopes to build enough of a sponsorship base to become a full-time professional soon.

Here, McGrory talks about how she hopes to apply her experience in Beijing to the London Games: