Monday, March 7, 2005 =B7 Last updated 9:10 a.m. PT Arkansas governor completes marathon By CARYN ROUSSEAU ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Pumping his arms above his head with the crowd cheering behind him, Gov. Mike Huckabee finished the Little Rock Marathon in a sprint on Sunday, nearly two years after he started a diet and exercise plan to lose 110 pounds. Huckabee has championed healthy living in public talks nationwide and media= interviews after losing 110 pounds from eating right and exercise. He invited Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to join him in the race a few weeks ago at a Washington meeting. Arkansas' first lady Janet Huckabee walked the entire 26.2 mile circuit, while Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack said she walked the first seven miles of the course. As the governors and their wives met outside the Clinton Presidential Library on Saturday for a tour of the center, Vilsack said his state was following Huckabee's lead and taking a closer look at the problem of obesity. "I never felt I was going to quit," Huckabee said after the 26.2-mile race.= "I never hit a point where I thought I couldn't do it. I felt good all the way through the finish and I was kicking it at the end." Huckabee finished the race ahead of his new running mate - Vilsack. The crowd cheered as Huckabee turned the corner toward the finish line and started the last stretch. "Take a look everybody, it's Governor Huckabee," the race announcer yelled over the applause. "He said he was going to do it and he did." The clock read 4:38:59 when Huckabee crossed the finish line and hugged his= two sons and daughter. "What do you say? Is that not cool?" Huckabee said holding up his medal before heading over to the VIP tent for a massage and two Diet Pepsi's. On his way, runners yelled congratulations and asked for pictures. "Go Huck," one man shouted. While another told him, "Way to go, gov." Vilsack, a Democrat who had predicted that the Republican Huckabee would beat him, finished his second marathon at 5 hours and 25 minutes. Vilsack finished the Des Moines Marathon in just under five hours last October. Huckabee waited for Vilsack at the finish line and hugged his friend as he crossed, giving him his finisher's medal. Huckabee said afterward that he never felt bad during the run and that he had watched the movie "Rocky" the= night before the race to get pumped up. He added that a good training regimen is what got him across the finish line at a 10 minute, 39 second per mile pace. "I believe this is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent presentation," he said. "I did exactly what I was supposed to do, to the day, to the mile."