TRAVERSE CITY — Jon and Kelly Gries are hoping to shatter personal bests in next month's annual Bayshore Marathon.
The Haslett couple will be among the favorites in the Memorial weekend race.
The two ran personal bests a year ago en route to second-place finishes. Jon Gries ran a 2:22:17 to take second behind Indiana's Jesse Davis, who won the men's race in 2:20:11. Kelly Gries came in at 2:54:04, over five minutes behind California's Caitlin Smith, who claimed the women's race in 2:48:33.
Jon Gries is looking to crack the 2:20 barrier in four weeks, Kelly Gries is aiming for a 2:50 finish.
"Every marathon I've run I've dropped about four minutes so that's why I'm projecting 2:50 because that would be my next four-minute increment," she said
Jon Gries, whose long term goal is to qualify for the Olympic Trials, thinks a 2:20 is achievable.
"That would be a two and half minute improvement," he said. "That would be great. I know I'm in a lot better shape."
The former Calvin College runners won last weekend's Lansing Half Marathon. Jon finished in 1:07:27, Kelly 1:20:44.
"The half marathon was a stepping stone for the marathon — to check to see where we are," Kelly said. "It went very well for both of us. We're very hopeful. We've done a lot of training and we've seen a lot of improvement. We're excited for Bayshore."
The two, who run for Playmakers, had the type of performances that solidified their Bayshore goals.
"We know the course was a little long, we don't know how long exactly, but it was still a PR by three seconds," Jon said of his half marathon time.
Kelly, 25, said she felt so "good" in the half that she believes she might be able to do even better than 2:50 here.