UW-Eau Claire alumni win this year’s Eau Claire Marathon

Adam Condit and Margaret Ho find joy and support in running

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UW-Eau Claire alumni win this year’s Eau Claire Marathon

Margaret Ho earned two All-Americans during her time as a runner at UW-Eau Claire.

Margaret Ho earned two All-Americans during her time as a runner at UW-Eau Claire.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Margaret Ho earned two All-Americans during her time as a runner at UW-Eau Claire.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Photo by SUBMITTED

Margaret Ho earned two All-Americans during her time as a runner at UW-Eau Claire.

Story by Clara Neupert, Freelance Writer

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The Sunday morning crowd lined the sloping street, waiting for the first runner to begin his decent up the Carson Park hill. As he strode into the finish shoot, the crowd began to moo. After a final push, the runner crosses the finish line, completing the Eau Claire Marathon. As the tape falls, he throws his fists into the air, pointing up at the sky in celebration.

The runner in the lead was Adam Condit, a 36-year-old Eau Claire resident. He said his memory of the last stretch of the marathon is spotty, but he remembered seeing Pat Toutant, the executive race director holding a microphone. Condit crossed the finish line with a time of 2:40:00, the first of 472 runners.

“My main goal was to run hard and enjoy the day,” Condit said.

Then, 16 minutes later came Margaret Ho, a 30-year-old runner from La Crosse. Ho finished with a time of 2:56:23, situating herself in first place for women and third overall. As soon as she crossed the finish line, Ho said she felt waves of relief, pride and sadness. 

Ho said the last few miles of the race were challenging, but her mental endurance helped her finish.

“At that point,” Ho said, “you know you can make it.” 

Condit and Ho have a couple of things in common. Not only are they the winners of the Eau Claire Marathon, but both are Blugold cross country and track alumni.

Ho said the pair briefly met post-race. Though they weren’t at the university at the same time, they discovered they have several mutual friends in the running community.

Condit graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2004 after earning 12 varsity letters and an academic All-American, among other awards. Condit and Alicia Condit, his wife, moved to Eau Claire and opened a running store called Blue Ox Running in 2017.

On Thursday evenings, the store is populated by a group of local runners who call themselves “The Herd,” hence the mooing during Condit’s finish. The store’s running community spread themselves throughout the race course. Condit said he enjoyed seeing their familiar faces and gave a ton of high-fives.

Condit’s interaction with the crowd is exemplary of his mantra for the race: “Run with joy.” He said this simple sentiment is inspired by his wife and children, who help him see the bigger picture.

“They don’t really care how fast I run,” Condit said. “It keeps my training grounded.”

Ho’s family came to support her too, though not on the sidelines. Her mother and father ran the half marathon on Sunday. She said her parents show her that runners can be successful at any age.

A 2010 graduate from UW-Eau Claire, Ho is no stranger to success. Her running resume includes two All-Americans during her time on the cross country team. Today, Ho lives in the La Crosse area and balances training with her running coach and her full-time job.

Race-day preparations went “smoothly,” Ho said, except for the ice and snow. The harsh weather made it difficult for Ho to get out and run early in the morning, she said. However, her coach and the running community in La Crosse helped her get out the door.

“You have to keep your goals in mind,” Ho said. One of her goals was to finish in the top three. 

“I have him to thank, too, for getting me into long distance running,” Ho said.

This summer, both athletes will be hitting the trails for ultramarathons. Condit said he plans to train for the JFK 50 Mile in Maryland. Ho said she will run the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon, which stretches from Carlton to Duluth, Minnesota.

Neupert can be reached at [email protected]

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