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Posted: June 28, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Seattle Shines Hosting Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Perfect weather, challenging course produces great competition; sold-out field of 25,000

From Dan Cruz

SEATTLE - (June 27, 2009) - On a day that dawned with clear blue skies, the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon lived up to the hype, kicking off the Seafair season and solidifying its place as a signature summer event in the Pacific Northwest. On Saturday, runners from all 50 states and 14 countries participated in the race, which highlighted some of the area's most scenic locations, including Lake Washington, awe-inspiring Mt. Rainier and Seattle's downtown skyline.

Highlights included, Kenya's Elija Nyabuti setting a new Washington state record for the half-marathon with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes, 14 seconds and American Michelle Suszek winning the women's marathon in 2:38:37, a full four minutes faster than her previous best.

"I wanted to run my own race today and wanted to break the 2:40 mark," said Suszek, who entered the race just a week ago and recently started working with new coach Lyle Knudson after a disappointing finish in April's Country Music Marathon.

The top five finishers in the women's marathon were Americans. Two-time Chicago Marathon champion Berhane Adere of Ethiopia won the women's half-marathon in 1:11:19.

In the men's marathon, Kenyan Peter Omae won in 2:18:17. American Peter Gilmore finished second (2:18:52). Both men pushed the pace after a 10K split of 31:37, breaking away from the lead pack at mile 10. The duo ran shoulder-to-shoulder for the next 10 miles, before Omae pulled away with the lead and the win.

"The first opponent every marathoner has is the distance and the course itself," said Toni Reavis, who commentated during the event's live webcast on "Because of the challenging nature of the Seattle course the runners had to make sure they handled the distance before trying to outrun their competition."

The unparalleled Seattle landscape made the 4th of 9 Rock 'n' Roll events in this year's series truly one-of-a-kind. The event successfully sold out its 25,000 slots a full two months before its June 27 running. The total number of finishers to cross the line in the parking lot of Quest Field was well over 20,000.

Participants of the race enjoyed a wide variety of entertainment along the tree-lined course, with bands selected by One Reel, a local music and entertainment service. The course, despite its hills and dips, proved to be the perfect combination in helping bring runners across the finish line in record numbers.

The 2nd Rock 'n' Roll Seattle is set for June 26, 2010.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon
Seattle, WA, Saturday, June 27, 2009

1) Peter Omae, Kenya, 2:18:17
2) Peter Gilmore, USA, 2:18:52
3) David Kiprop Yego, Kenya, 2:19:23

1) Michele Suszek, USA, 2:38:37
2) Leah Thorvilson, USA, 2:38:49
3) Christine Glockenmeie, USA, 2:56:02

1) Elija Nyabuti, Kenya, 1:05:14*
2) Pat Rizzo, USA, 1:05:34
3) Rik Ceulemans, Belgium, 1:06:01
*Washington state record (previous, 1:05:43, Dave Mora (USA), 1994)

1) Berhane Adere, Ethiopia, 1:11:19
2) Nuta Olaru, Romania, 1:11:43
3) Isley Gonzalez, USA, 1:20:14

Deeper results at:

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