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Originally published December 1, 2013 at 12:33 PM | Page modified December 1, 2013 at 10:15 PM

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Uli Steidl wins 10th Seattle Marathon; Sheila Croft wins women’s race

Uli Steidl, 41, wins his second straight Seattle Marathon, and his 10th overall.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Another year, another Seattle Marathon title for Uli Steidl.

The 41-year-old Seattle resident won the annual race for the 10th time Sunday, finishing the course in 2 hours, 32 minutes, and 24 seconds. Shortsightedly, perhaps, race officials assigned Steidl No. 9 on his racing bib.

“Number 10 was already given out,” Steidl said with a grin.

Evan Blanshan, 27, finished two minutes behind Steidl to claim second place for the second year in a row. His time was 2:34.23.

Sheila Croft, 39, was the women’s winner, finishing in 2:58.25. It was her first victory in the Seattle Marathon, although she has twice won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which travels a very similar course — one with which she is quite familiar.

Croft, who lives on Lake Washington Boulevard, twice ran past her house during the race, once at the six-mile point, and later at mile 15.

“That’s my running route,” she said. “I knew exactly what the course was going to be like.”

It was her first marathon attempt since the Boston Marathon last April, which she was unable to finish due to injury.

Shortly after he crossed the finish line, Steidl shared a hug with Blanshan and third-place finisher Rob Schlegel. Schlegel and Steidl are both alumni of the University of Portland, and the trio spent much of the race in each other’s company.

Steidl fell from first to fourth when he stopped for a bathroom break near the halfway point, but quickly retook the lead and ran alone for the final six miles.

“I looked around a few times to make sure nobody was coming from behind,” he said. “I didn’t feel super, but nobody feels super at the end, no matter how they run.”

As is usually the case, Steidl was one of the final runners to register for the race. He decided to run early last week, but didn’t sign up until Saturday.

Steidl won the race eight times in a row from 1999 to 2006, but then went on hiatus before returning last year. Getting to double-digits in victories was the goal.

“I’m 41 now, so I don’t have too many more years where I can just jump in and win,” he said. “Eventually, one of the young guys will come and kick my butt.”

There was a similar sentiment behind Croft’s winning run. She entered the race aiming to finish in three hours, but didn’t expect that to be good enough for first place. Last year, after all, the winning time was more than 10 minutes quicker.

High wind, though, particularly going over the I-90 floating bridge, meant slower times across the board.

“I’m 39. I’m an old lady,” she said. “I shouldn’t be winning these things.”

Matthew McClement, a 23-year-old senior on the Seattle U cross country team, won the men’s half-marathon in 1:11.24.

Paige Pattillo, a 25-year-old native of Bothell, was the top female finisher in the half-marathon, finishing in 1:24.01.

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