TRAVERSE CITY — Tammy Nowik is getting better with age.
The 40-year-old Clarkston runner set a personal best Saturday in winning the women’s Bayshore Half Marathon in 1:22:04. Caitlin Smith, a former Traverse City West runner who now resides in California, placed second in 1:23.39. Smith won the half last year in 1:19.06.
This race, though, belonged to Nowik, who set a personal best by nearly a minute.
“I trained hard this winter,” she said. “I started working with (coach) Brendan Martin last year and so far it’s been a pretty good year. I’ve been setting PRs every race. He’s an excellent coach.”
Nowik finished second in the Fifth Third River Bank 25K women’s masters race two weeks ago. She ran a 1:40.46.
She put together another solid effort Saturday on the run down Old Mission Peninsula.
“I felt strong the whole way,” she said. “I had never done this course. It was gorgeous — probably a favorite of mine. The views? You can’t beat them.
“I heard the hill wasn’t there last year, but it wasn’t too bad. I’m glad it was at the beginning, not the end.”
Organizers moved the start of the race to Bowers Harbor Park this year. The first mile was uphill on the 13.1-mile course that ended on the track at Traverse City Central.
Nowik, who is planning to do her first marathon this fall, was “hoping” to break 1:24.
“I substantially ran faster than that so I’m pleased,” she said.
Nowik said she picked up the pace midway through the race, then had to rein herself in.
“I caught myself running faster in the middle (part of the race),” she said. “I started at about a 6:15 pace, then got down to 6 minutes. I thought it was too early to do that so I backed down. I was able to keep a consistent (pace) the second half.