Former Badgers shine at NYC Marathon

The buildup to Sunday's New York City Marathon focused on the debuts of rookies -- and former University of Wisconsin All-Americans -- Simon Bairu and Tim Nelson.

In the end, it was Nelson and the much-less publicized Matt Downin that proudly carried the flag for the Badgers. Nelson was 13th overall in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds -- a time that placed him an impressive fourth among U.S. finishers.

The 33-year-old Downin wasn't far back in 18th, finishing the 26.2-mile course in 2:20:41 to place seventh among Americans. During his time at UW, Downin was a four-time All-American and two-time Big Ten cross country champion.

Bairu won a pair of NCAA cross country titles for the Badgers, but did not find as much success in his marathon debut. The Canadian national record-holder at 10,000 meters dropped out of the race after 23 miles.

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won the race in 2:08.14.

Chris Solinsky, a training partner of fellow former Badger teammates Bairu and Nelson, is expected to eventually make the transition to marathons but was driven around the route of this year's NYC event by organizers in a truck.

Considered the "future" of the event by the race's director, Solinsky's experience was chronicled by George Vecsey of the New York Times.

Bairu and Nelson, meanwhile, had plenty of coverage of their preparation for the marathon. Follow the links below for the 'Rookies vs. the World' video series on the duo and training partner Shalane Flanagan, as well as Bairu's blog for the New York Times and both athletes' take on Twitter.

- Complete Results: New York City Marathon
- Rookies vs. the World video series
- Bairu's New York Times blog
- Twitter: Bairu (@SimonBairu)  |  Nelson (@ThatRunnerGuy)