Half Marathon Race Headlines Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Seattle
Two-Time Chicago Marathon Champion Berhane Adere Highlights Women's Field
SEATTLE, Wash. - (June 23, 2009) - An international field of Olympic athletes will take to the roads of the Pacific Northwest Saturday for the Inaugural running of the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon and Half-Marathon, a Seafair Signature Event.
The women's professional field will be lead by former 10,000m World Champion Berhane Adere of Ethiopia. Adere, who will compete in the Half-Marathon, won back-to-back Chicago Marathons in 2006-07 and was the winner of the Dubai Marathon last year. She holds a half-marathon PR of 1 hour, 8 minutes, 17 seconds and is looking to challenge the Washington State record of 1:10:08 set in 1990 by Lisa Weidenbach, the last American to win the Boston Marathon.
"We are delighted to have an athlete of Berhane's caliber come to Seattle," said Matt Turnbull, Athlete Coordinator for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. "She is in fantastic condition and we expect her championship form to carry through in what is shaping up to be a great contest on June 27th."
Romanian Nuta Olaru, winner of the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio last November and two-time L.A. Marathon runner-up, joins Adere amongst the favorites in the women's Half-Marathon.
The men's half- marathon field is lead by former marathon world record holder Paul Tergat. A two-time Olympic silver medalist, Tergat, 40, won Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan earlier this year and was the first runner in history to run a sub-2:05 marathon with a then record setting time of 2:04:55 in 2003. Tergat will be challenged by fellow Kenyans Nicolas Koech and Elijah Nyabuti. Koech won the Prague Half-Marathon in March with a time of 1:00:07. Nyabuti, 29 owns a half- marathon PR of 1:01:19. The half-marathon record for the State of Washington is 1:05:43 set by American Dave Mora in 1994.
Challenging the East Africans in the 13.1-mile road race, will be the Pacific Northwest's own Mark Mandi and Sean Sundwall. Mandi, a 2006 graduate of the University of Washington where he ran track and cross country, has won multiple road races around the region including the individual championship in the 2004 Sundodger Invitational and the 2005 Charles Bowles Invitational. He helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA Championships in 2003 and 2005 as a co-captain of the cross country team. His half- marathon PR of 1:06:37 was set in 2007 in Eugene.
Sundwall, winner of the 2008 Tacoma Half Marathon, is a resident of Snoqualmie, WA and qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials. He won the Newport Marathon in Oregon last year with a time of 2:22:47, breaking the course record by four minutes. Rounding out the men's half marathon field is four-time Belgian half marathon champion Rik Ceulemans, who owns a personal best of 1:02:07 over the distance.
The marathon field will be lead by Americans Mark Batres and Andy Martin. Batres, a five-time All American at Cal Poly Pomona, has a PR of 2:19:07 set in 2007 when he finished second at the Las Vegas Marathon. He won the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half-Marathon last month in 1:05:45, breaking the course record by over a minute. Martin set his marathon PR of 2:20:04 back in 1999 and won the hilly Big Sur Marathon in 2:29:50 last year.
Other contenders in the marathon field include Kenyan trio of David Kiprop Yego, Jynocel Basweti and Zach Nymbaso, all of whom are capable of claiming victory. Basweti, 22, trains in New Mexico and won the Quad Cities, Denver and SunTrust Richmond Marathons in 2008. His PR of 2:14:02 at the Austin Marathon was one of the fastest marathon times on U.S. soil in 2007.
The favorite in the women's marathon field is American Leah Thorvilson of Little Rock, AR. She has already won two marathons this year, in Green Bay (2:37:55) and Little Rock (2:44:19).
The entire field of elite runners will be introduced at a local press conference on Thursday afternoon at 1:00pm. The media event will be held in the clinic area of the Health & Fitness Expo at the Qwest Event Center and moderated by acclaimed running broadcaster Toni Reavis.
About Rock 'n' Roll Seattle
The Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & Half- Marathon is part of a national series of eleven musically themed marathon and half-marathon events. The inaugural race sold-out with more than 25,000 participants and will feature over 45 live bands and thousands of cheerleaders along the marathon and half-marathon courses. Qwest Field will be the location of both the finish line and Health & Fitness Expo at the Qwest Event Center. The two-day Health & Fitness Expo is free and open to the public, hosting over one hundred running and fitness retailers, exhibits and clinics. For more information, visit: www.RnRseattle.com.