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Parson throws caution to wind, races to Bloomsday victory

Scott Parson decided to let it ride Sunday morning, and came up big.

Parson, a four-time Master’s Division Bloomsday winner, took the Men’s Elite wheelchair title largely by using almost no brake pressure during the early descent into Peaceful Valley.

While his competitors were more conservative with their brakes, Parson separated himself from the pack at Mile 2, then maintained a lead that at times stretched to more than half a mile.

Parson finished in 29 minutes, 58 seconds, almost a minute and a half ahead of 25-year-old Aaron Pike of Champaign, Ill.

Pike finished fourth last year.

Parson, who finished third and sixth in 2010 and 2011, respectively, took full advantage of the absence of defending champion Aaron Gordian and 10-time champion Saul Mendoza.

Travis Dodson and Adam Bleakney, both of Savor, Ill., finished third and fourth, respectively.

In the Women’s Elite Division, Amanda McGrory won her sixth straight title in a time of 34 minutes, 15 seconds.  McGrory dominated in the hills, separating from the pack on Government Way and again on Doomsday Hill. 

 McGrory finished nearly two minutes in front of her teammate on the University of Illinois Wheelchair Team – Susanna Scaroni, a native of Tekoa, Wash.  

Scaroni finished in 36:06.

 McGrory’s winning time in Bloomsday was 32:43 in 2008.  Jean Driscoll is the all-time leader with 12 consecutive Women’s Elite Wheelchair victories at Bloomsday.