Jose Mejia, Lauren O’Donnell Claim First Titles at 25th Annual NorthShore Inline Marathon

Mejia finished in 1:06:21.06 while O'Donnell finished in 1:13:17.16.

DULUTH, Minn. – After the race weekend was canceled and races were held virtually last year due to the pandemic, the NorthShore Inline Marathon returned in-person this weekend as over 1200 athletes from all over the world participated in the 25th anniversary.

This year, we saw two first-time winners in the NorthShore Inline Marathon in Jose Mejia from Colombia and Lauren O’Donnell, a 16-year-old from Florida. Mejia finished in 1:06:21.06, edging runner-up Justin Stelly by a little more than a second. Meanwhile, O’Donnell finished in 1:13:17.16, edging Tori Carter also by a little more than a second. This was Mejia’s first marathon ever, while O’Donnell competed in this race in 2019 and finished in 1:22:51.08.

“He wanted to be about third place with 400 meters to go and all of a sudden, he was in first with 400 to go and then he had to start figuring out what to do and when he saw Justin Stelly next to him, he just had to go and sprint for it,” Mejia said through an interpreter.

“I’m not used to the hills because there are no hills in Florida so I just tried to keep my head up and keep pushing through because I kind of remembered the course and I wanted to make sure I had enough left for the end. It means so much because two years, I came and didn’t do my best so today I felt like I redeemed myself,” O’Donnell added.

And the wins were even more special for both of them as they’re in the same training group and have plenty of experience racing and competing together.

“It was fun, I love being part of the group, it was hard today because I was the only girl on my team and the boys had their teams. Both of us won the 100K as well two years ago so it’s nice,” O’Donnell said.

In total, there were 676 finishers in the rec division this weekend.

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