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Posted: January 26, 2009  :

Athletics: Italian and American Win the ING Miami Marathon

Sold-Out Field of 15,000 Elevates Miami Event to Largest Distance Race in South Florida

MIAMI, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A trio of Americans took home three of the four titles at the seventh running of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon(R). Americans Michele Suskek of Colorado won the women's ING Miami Marathon, and Pat Hayburn of Pennsylvania and Susanne Larsen of Michigan won the men's and women's half marathons, respectively. Italian Benazzouz Slimani was the first European to win the men's marathon. This year's edition of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon included the largest number of participants, with a sold-out field of 15,000 for the combo distance event.

Thirty-four-year-old Slimani closed strong to win the 26.2-mile race with a time of 2:16:49. In a decisive win, Slimani stepped ahead as the leader early and maintained a strong pace the entire race. "This is my first race in the United States and this is such beautiful city, culture and country," said Slimani. "I am very happy to win my first American race here and look forward to running more races in the United States." Kenyan Jynocel Basweti secured second place in the marathon, staying within sight of the leader the entire race; he completed the marathon is a time of 2:18:14. Basweti's fellow countryman Edward Tabut rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 2:18:30.

Michele Suskek pulled off an exciting come-from-behind victory in the women's race, making her final pass in the last half mile to win by 20 seconds, with a final time of 2:43:31. "With two miles to go, I could see the leader ahead and pushed the pace," said the twenty-six-year-old female champion. "I never thought about passing her and was just praying my pace was good enough." Suskek had heart surgery in 2003 for complications from Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. Now fully recovered, she had hoped for a personal record.

"I was 30 seconds off my personal best today, but I'm happy with the final result." Suskek bested Kenyan Zeddy Chepkoech, who held the lead for most of the 26.2 mile course. Chepkoech finished in second place with a time of 2:43:51. Ecuadorian Sandra Ruales Mosquera finished in 2:50:36 to capture the third place.

The men's division of the ING Miami Half Marathon was won by Pat Hayburn of Pennsylvania in 1:11:12. "The field spread out a bit early and I was actually able to enjoy the race a bit," said Hayburn. "The course is really beautiful -- the cruise ships and seeing the sunrise as you run -- it's a big difference from home." Hayburn held to the fast pace by his teammate, training partner and next-door neighbor Kevin Cunningham, who earned second place with a time of 1:11:32. Jose Gutembergue Ferreira of Brazil ran a 1:13:00 to claim third place in the 13.1-mile contest.

Suzanne Larsen of Michigan captured the ING Miami Half Marathon title by finishing in 1:20:38. She handily staved off second-place finisher Karina Navarette Duena of Ecuador, who finished in 1:23:50. "I felt really great, but coming from Michigan, I knew this would be a great race," said Larsen. "It's a treat not to run on ice this time of year." Mexico-native Yamile Alaluf took third place in the women's half marathon with a time of 1:24:54.

Now in its seventh year, the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon has grown to become South Florida's largest distance running event. A total of 12,376 racers started the race under ideal temperatures of 61 degrees at American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. Of the total starters, 12,219 racers finished both the marathon and half marathon courses today, with 2,630 completing the 26.2-mile course. The marathon traveled to the vibrant Miami Beach neighborhoods and back along picturesque causeways, showing off the best of Miami's communities before finishing at Bayfront Park. The half marathon had 9,589 finishers on the 13.1-mile course, for a finish rate of 98 percent.

"Today's sold-out race was a tribute to the vibrancy of the city, the support of ING and our sponsors, the dedication of our volunteers and the determination of our racers," said Gaby Pozo, race director of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon. "The ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon is a showcase of our community and the vibrancy that is Miami."

Joining the runners today were a very special group of middle-school children from the Miami-Dade County School System. As part of the ING Run for Something Better, nearly 4,000 children completed the Final Mile of their own marathon. Having trained through the winter, the children completed 25 miles of running through the free fitness program prior to today. They completed their Final Mile today under picture-perfect skies, and with the company of Congressmen Kendrick Meek (Fla.), who joined the children for the run.

"To every racer today, including the 4,000 children who ran the ING Run for Something Better Final Mile, we extend our congratulations," said Ann Glover, chief marketing officer, ING Americas. "As a company, ING's goal is to help make it easier for people of all ages to achieve success -- whether it's running a marathon or preparing for a safe, secure financial future."

For more information on the results of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon, please visit Next year's ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010.

Race Highlights

15,000 Total Entrants 
12,376 Total Starters and 12,219 Total Finishers 
2,630 athletes finished the marathon 
9,589 athletes finished the half marathon 
Total Prize Purse: $28,000 
Age of youngest participant (half marathon): 12 years 
Age of oldest participant (half marathon): 82 years 
U.S. states represented: 50 
Countries represented: 55 
Number of volunteers: more than 2,000 
Temperature at the start (6:15 a.m.): 61 F (partly cloudy) 
Temperature at the finish (1:00 p.m.): 74 F (sunny) 

Nearly 4,000 schoolchildren from Miami-Dade County middle schools participated in the Final Mile as part of ING's Run for Something Better

Men's Marathon Open Division Winners

    1. Benazzouz Slimani (Italy)        2:16:49
    2. Jynocel Basweti (Kenya)          2:18:14
    3. Edward Tabut (Kenya)             2:18:30
    4. David Tuwei (Kenya)              2:19:50
    5. Mike Korir (USA)                 2:35:13
    6. Claudio Marcelo Nunez (Ecuador)  2:41:29
    7. Pablo Tipantuna (Ecuador)        2:42:09
    8. Mark Pepin (USA)                 2:44:18
    9. Moacir Capistrano (Brazil)       2:44:20
    10. Matt Woods (USA)                2:44:22

Women's Marathon Open Division Winners

    1. Michele Suskek (USA)              2:43:31
    2. Zeddy Chepkoech (Kenya)           2:43:51
    3. Sandra Ruales Mosquera (Ecuador)  2:50:36
    4. Kristijna Loonen (Belgium)        2:53:19
    5. Jessica Haouache (USA)            3:08:17
    6. Nancy Rojas (USA)                 3:10:48
    7. Heather Goodfellow (USA)          3:12:58
    8. Stephanie Stevens (USA)           3:14:02
    9. Guadalupe Duran (USA)             3:15:56
    10. Bouchre Franz (USA)              3:18:15

Men's Half Marathon Open Division Winners

    1. Pat Hayburn (USA)                   1:11:12
    2. Kevin Cunningham (USA)              1:11:32
    3. Jose Gutembergue Ferreira (Brazil)  1:13:00
    4. Marius Acker (USA)                  1:14:10
    5. Brooks Grossinger (USA)             1:14:38
    6. Freddy Alvarado (PR)                1:16:34
    7. Ben Ingram (USA)                    1:16:37
    8. Jonathan Mederos (USA)              1:16:45
    9. Elliott Mason (USA)                 1:16:51
    10. Joseph Elsakr (USA)                1:17:11

Women's Half Marathon Open Division Winners

    1. Suzanne Larsen (USA)              1:20:38
    2. Karina Navarette Duena (Ecuador)  1:23:50
    3. Yamile Alaluf (MEX)               1:24:54
    4. Ana Garcez (Brazil)               1:26:29
    5. Lizbeth Rodriguez (MEX)           1:27:47
    6. Janine Peart (USA)                1:28:07
    7. Isabelle Piller (USA)             1:28:34
    8. Carol Postigo (USA)               1:28:35
    9. Katie Churchill (USA)             1:28:41
    10. Tami James (USA)                 1:29:10

Men's Wheelchair Division Winner

    1. Piery Ramirez (USA)              1:40:13

Women's Wheelchair Division Winner

    1. Jessica Matassa (CAN)            2:07:14

Men's Handcycle Division Winner

    1. Brian Mitchell (USA)             1:20:47

Women's Handcycle Division Winner

    1. Vickie Horne (USA)               2:31:56

SOURCE ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

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