Get to Know the Winners of the 2014 Seattle Marathon

Running Monday, December 15, 2014 Written by

It was not your ordinary Seattle day.

Almost 8,500 runners lined up at the starting line near Seattle Center, braving temperatures below freezing for the 2014 Seattle Marathon. Just one day before, the city woke up to a thin blanket of snow. Rain in November? Sure. But snow? It felt too early.

On top of that, Uli Steidl, ten-time winner of the Seattle Marathon, was nowhere to be found. Basically, it was anyone’s race.

And Shaun Frandsen made it his. With icicles on his beard, he crossed the finish line with a time of 2:34:21, winning the 2014 Seattle Marathon almost three minutes ahead of the second finisher.

“It was the perfect day,” says Frandsen. “I had a feeling I could win it as I was driving to the start line, watching the sunrise. I thrive in the cold weather for some reason. Growing up in Spokane, I would wear shorts until the first snow. I had no fear of the cold.”

In the women’s category, Sophia Liu blew away the competition. Her time of 2:57:30 beat the second-best time by nearly 12 minutes.

“I actually enjoy tough-weather running,” says Liu. She had just finished her doctorate at Ball State in Indiana, and had been using running as her stress reliever. “Running doesn’t just test physical performance,” Liu explains. “It’s a mental game.”

Frandsen had his own motivation for training: his two-year-old son. “I’m a stay-at-home dad caring for my two-year-old (with a newborn on the way). We spend a lot of time outdoors jogging on the trail with the baby stroller. He’s my secret training weapon.”

The training certainly paid off for both finishers. Frandsen was able to take the lead between mile 11 and 12, throwing in a long surge at Seward Park to break away from the pack.

“I knew that if I could get enough space between me and them before the hills, then I had a good chance to maintain [my lead] for the win,” he says. And from that point on, he was completely out of sight of the guys trailing him.

For Liu, the race didn’t go as smoothly.

“I didn’t feel great in the beginning,” she says. “I had some foot injuries, and they bothered me for the first couple miles. I tried to ignore it and just focus on my running form.”

Liu was running for one person — herself.

“I wanted to compete only against myself — a gift for graduating,” says Liu. And what a gift it was. “When I entered the stadium, I started to get excited. I knew I would cross the ribbon for the first time. It was such an awesome feeling,” she explains.

Frandsen was excited well before the finish. With six miles to go, he ran through his favorite part of the race — Interlaken Blvd.

2014 seattle marathon“Those roads were my old running routes when I used to live on Capitol Hill,” he said. “Then I heard one of my club teammates shouting to me on the loudspeaker as I ran through. I got goose bumps and felt so inspired at that point.”

With their first-place finishes, Liu and Frandsen are definitely looking to the future. Liu is eyeing the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon in June, and Frandsen is considering a major race in New York, Boston or Chicago.

How to Train Like a Seattle Marathon Winner

Want to train like a pro? Here are the favorite local training routes of this year’s marathon and half marathon winners:


Half marathon winner, female – 1:23:49


“I love the ‘tourist’ run in Seattle around Lake Union — you get Gas Works Park, the house boats, the Fremont Troll, SPU’s funky track and the Space Needle.”


Half marathon winner, male – 1:12:44


“Redmond Watershed is my favorite place for long runs, while Green Lake is perfect for shorter runs.”


Full marathon winner, male – 2:34:21


“I like running the Burke-Gilman Trail and around my Fin Hill neighborhood.”


Full marathon winner, female – 2:57:30


“I love Bridle Trials and the 140th Street area in Redmond. I can do two-mile repeats with a mix of hills and flat terrain.”

Congratulations to all the winners and participants in this year’s chilly Seattle Marathon! And whether you’re training for another race or just running for your health — keep up the good work.

Photos courtesy of Shaun Frandsen.