Paul Katam, 25, won the men’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon on Saturday. Katam, a native Kenyan now living in Beaverton, Ore., finished in 2 hours 26 minutes 15 seconds. Anna Corrigan, 24, of Phoenix won the women’s marathon, clocking in at 2:54:56.

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Paul Katam had the streets of Seattle to himself Saturday morning.

The Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon kicked off underneath the Space Needle, and by the time Katam, 25, reached Westlake Center, he’d outpaced all but two of the event’s 17,267 participants. He was completely alone by the Interstate 90 stretch, but ran the final six miles through a chorus of cheers from other runners, musical performers and spectators.

Katam completed the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours 26 minutes and 15 seconds.

“It’s not good, but for my first marathon, it’s OK,” he said.

Katam, who lives in Beaverton, Ore., is aiming to compete for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. In order to qualify for the Trials in February, however, he needs to shave his marathon time down to at least 2:18:00.

“I just wanted to get this experience and then get serious about my training,” said Katam, who ran the Rock ’n’ Roll half-marathon event in Portland in May and placed third at 1:05:59.

Anna Corrigan, 24, of Phoenix won the women’s marathon, clocking in at 2:54:56. She’s completed several of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathons, but was a first-timer in Seattle.

“I loved running by the water and there were a ton of bands and it was amazing,” said Corrigan of the twist where performance groups — from African drummers to punk-rock bands and cheerleaders — dot the course.

In the half-marathon, Daniel Vargas, 31, took first-place honors in the men’s division. Hailing from Mexico, the Olympian finished in 1:05:39. Dani Miller, 23, of Rochester, Mich. finished in 1:17:16 to top the women’s field.

The event added an 8K, or nearly 5-mile race, this season and sold out its 1,150 spaces in May. Rachel Cundy, 21, of Stanwood topped all runners at 30 minutes and 30 seconds. Doug Lowe, 42, finished first among the men in 32:07.

Overall, the Rock ’n’ Roll Seattle event attracted runners from 50 states and 22 countries, according to a spokeswoman. Of those, 34 percent were first-time marathon runners while an approximate 24 percent ran their first half-marathon.

“I was terrified,” said Jonathan Goodman of Shoreline. He lapped Green Lake as his go-to training site for his first marathon Saturday, finishing in 4:49:56. “But it went OK. I mean, I finished.”

Marathons are a long journey in a short amount of time for Katam, a native of Kenya. He became a naturalized American in 2014 by joining the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program.

Katam starred in track and cross country at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. But it wasn’t until enduring basic training with the Army that a true passion in long-distance running grew for him.

That military tie also made him emotional during a stretch of Saturday’s course along Lake Washington. The Wear Blue: Run to Remember non-profit organization placed requested placards of fallen men and women of the military in a one-mile space, some of its 200 volunteers also holding flags — all in remembrance for those participants who ran in their name.

“That was so beautiful,” said Katam of the unexpected sight. “It felt great to see. Any time I see any solider, it touches me because I’m part of the Army and I know what it feels like. It made it a beautiful race.”