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Posted: June 1, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Yulia Gromova Defends Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Crown

El Boumlili clocks 2:11 to win men's race; Parson breaks wheelchair course record

From Dan Cruz

SAN DIEGO - (May 31, 2009) - Morning drizzle and a deep marine layer greeted more than 16,000 runners at the 12th Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on Sunday. The overcast skies, combined with no wind and cool temperatures, created near ideal conditions and 2008 women's race champion Yulia Gromova of Russia took full advantage, cruising to a new personal record of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 37 seconds to defend her crown.

"I love everything about this race," said Gromova who also won $25,000. "I ran a conservative first half of the race [1:14:44], but the strategy was to pick up the pace in the second half. I just concentrated on the pace and didn't worry about the other runners."

The pace of the women's race was set early by 2007 race champion Hellen Kimutai of Kenya, who held a 15 second lead through mile five before the trailing pack closed the gap. By mile eight, Gromova, fellow Russian Albina Mayorova and Romania's Nuta Olaru made up ground, with the lead pack of four women running together though 20K when Gromova put in a surge approaching the half-marathon mark.

Only Olaru followed, but a stomach problem at mile 16 dropped her from second to fourth place and Gromova pushed ahead with victory firmly in hand. Kimutai finished second, nearly two minutes back in 2:29:32.

A strong men's field promised tough competition, but Moroccan Khalid El Boumlili, who dropped out of Monday's Los Angeles Marathon after 16 miles, ran away from the men's pack at mile 7. For the next 19 miles, he would go on a solo tour of "America's Finest City" and never looked back.

The men's race opened with a slow pace, with a large front pack running the first 10K in 31:40. However, the ordinary pace would ultimately help the Moroccan warm up his tight hamstring. El Boumlili, who finished third at the Boston Marathon last year, overcame two aide station mishaps and a sore hamstring at mile 20, and ultimately ran away with a dominating victory. Samuel Mugo of Kenya was runner-up (2:12:37).

"The music makes the miles go by faster," said El Boumlili, who ran a half-marathon split of 65:41. "The first 5K was slow and was good for my hamstring. After 10K, I picked up the pace and no one came with me."

American and 2004 Olympian Dan Browne dropped out of the race at mile 18 with a leg injury.

The race began at 6:25am with a wheelchair invitational. Carlsbad 5000 wheelchair champion Scott Parson of San Jose captured the marathon title with a blistering performance of 1:34:39, setting a new course record.

"This was my first marathon in San Diego and the weather was great, you couldn't beat it," said Parson, who finished third six days earlier in Los Angeles.

Sunday's race marked the final year that the event finished at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Over 2,000 runners and walkers donned purple singlets, raising over $8.2 million (net) in 2009 with Team In Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. TNT has been the official charity of the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon throughout the event's 12 year legacy, and has raised over $142 million through the partnership.

The 2010 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is set for Sunday, June 6.

12th Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
San Diego, CA, Sunday, May 31, 2009

1) Khalid El Boumlili, Morocco, 2:11:16, $25,000 
2) Samuel Mugo, Kenya, 2:12:37, $17,500 
3) Tesfaye Tola, Ethiopia, 2:13:02, $10,000 
4) Augustus Kavuti, Kenya, 2:13:24, $7500 
5) Oleksandre Sitkovskky, Ukraine, 2:13:28, $5000

1) Yulia Gromova, Russia, 2:27:37, $25,000 
2) Hellen Kimutai, Kenya, 2:29:32, $17,500 
3) Nuta Olaru, Romania, 2:30:40, $10,000 
4) Albina Mayorova, Russia, 2:31:46, $7500 
5) Albina Gallyamova, 45, Russia, 2:38:35, $5000

Deeper results at:

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