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Posted: July 18, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: World Class Competitors Ready For The San Francisco Marathon

Elite Fields Include Three Women Tuning for World Champs

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - (July 17, 2009) - The San Francisco Marathon(TM), scheduled for Sunday, July 26, 2009, will draw more than 20,000 runners entered in the event's marathon, two accompanying half marathons, and 5K run. The elite fields set to toe the starting line will include, perhaps, the strongest women's contingent in the 32 years a major marathon has run in San Francisco.

Yoko Shibui (Japan), Tera Moody (USA), and Fiona Docherty (New Zealand) are members of their respective national teams that will compete at the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Germany. All three athletes will run in The San Francisco Marathon (SFM) events as a tune-up for the marathon on August 23 at the World Championships. Moody and Docherty are entered in SFM's 2nd Half Marathon (which covers the second half of the city-wide marathon course). Shibui, however, has opted for the full marathon race that includes a memorable out-and-back tour over the Golden Gate Bridge.

As the all-time seventh fastest female marathoner in the world, the 30-year-old Shibui is a national celebrity in Japan. Her lightening-swift personal best of 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 41 seconds at the 26.2-mile distance, which she recorded at the 2004 Berlin Marathon, set a Japanese national record (since eclipsed by Mizuki Noguchi's 2:19:12 in 2005).

"The San Francisco Marathon will serve as a final long run in my preparations for the World Championships, and as a time trial to see where I really am at sea level," said Shibui who has been training at 7,000 feet elevation in Flagstaff, Ariz. for the past two months under the wings of her coach, Shigeharu Watanabe. "San Francisco is a beautiful city and I'm really looking forward to spending some time there. Running a marathon will be a great way to do some sight-seeing. It will be nice to get 'genki' (good-spirited) power from my fellow Japanese people in San Francisco."

Shibui's credentials make her a candidate to eclipse SFM's current women's course record of 2:43:41 set by Yolanda Flamino in 2007. Shibui, however, said she plans on "cruising" the hilly marathon course in the 2:45 to 2:55 range along with her Japanese teammate and training partner, Ikuyo Yamashita, who owns a 2:39:07 personal best. Even so, a training effort could put either woman on the winner's podium.

Last summer, Shibui competed at the Olympic Games in Beijing where she placed 17th at 10,000 meters. Already this year, she has won the Osaka Ladies Marathon in 2:23:42 and helped her Japanese national team to victory at the highly competitive Yokohama International Women's Ekiden relay.

Tera Moody and Fiona Docherty headline the deepest-ever female elite field for SFM's 2nd Half Marathon (13.1 miles). Although the event's 1st Half Marathon is popular among many runners primarily because of its scenic tour of San Francisco's world-famous bay waterfront and the Golden Gate Bridge, elite runners prefer the flatter and faster 2nd Half Marathon course.

Moody, 28, who resides in Colorado Springs, Colo. earned her place on the U.S. team headed to the IAAF World Championships by placing fifth at the 2008 U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:33:54, a personal record. Although Moody missed making the U.S. Olympic team by a mere two places at that race, she wasn't disappointed by the outcome.

"The opportunity to run in the World Championships is a dream come true," said Moody. "I've been dreaming about it pretty much every day since the Marathon Trials. I feel it's the next best thing to the Olympics."

Moody is focusing on the World Championships marathon in Berlin by turning in 100-mile training weeks in Colorado's altitude.

"I like to run a half marathon about a month out from my marathons, get in a really solid effort, and see what I need to work on," said Moody, whose half marathon personal record is 1:13:04. "San Francisco fits in perfectly and I really love the city. Right now I'm feeling really strong and I'm not worrying too much about my speed."

New Zealand's Docherty is also preparing for Berlin in Colorado (Boulder) where she is coached by former marathon world record holder Steve Jones. Docherty, 33, is "transitioning to the marathon" (her own words) following years as an accomplished triathlete and duathlete. Last January, the Kiwi ran a debut "non-triathlon" effort at the Austin 3M Half Marathon in 1:15:56 followed by a 2:42:11 at the Ottawa Marathon in May.

Others to watch in the 2nd Half Marathon women's field: Christy Beckman (32, San Diego), a former NCAA Division I All-American at the University of California, Irvine (1/2 marathon PR: 1:16:04); and Jessica Minty (25, Blowing Rock, N.C.), a recent grad of Colby College (Maine) who is making her half marathon debut after scoring a 5K PR of 15:56 on the track last April.

2nd Half Marathon entrant Sylvia Mosqueda, 43, of Los Angeles is virtually unbeatable in the masters (age 40 and over) division. Her 1:14:26 half marathon at Huntington Beach in 2007 ranks her #3 all-time on the U.S. women's masters list. Plus, Mosqueda owns the fastest lifetime half marathon best (1:09:52) in the women's field.

Three former SFM champions are returning to compete.

Chad Worthen (35, Sacramento) won last year's marathon contest, easily topping all men in 2:31:52. This year, Worthen will try his hand in the 2nd Half Marathon where he'll vie against a number of younger competitors with excellent marks. They include Ethiopia's Abiyot Endale, 23, whose 1:05:27 half marathon best is the class of the field.

Andrew Cook (Flower Mound, Tex.) and former Santa Rosa High School and Stanford University track and cross country standout Julia Mallon (nee Stamps) are entered in the marathon, looking to add more SFM individual champion trophies to their shelves. Cook, 28, a 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier with a 2:19:47 personal best, scored back-to-back men's victories at SFM in 2006 and 2007. Cook's primary challenger could come from Allen Wagner (28, Huntingdon Valley, Penn.) who was 25th overall at the '08 Trials in 2:18:25.

Mallon, 30, will be seeking her second trip to the awards stand at SFM after winning the women's race in 2006. The talented athlete who now resides in Miami, Fla. with her husband, Jon. Mallon is returning to good form just six months after giving birth to Ashlin Rose, the couple's first child. She captured second place at the rugged Big Sur International Marathon last April. Her marathon best is 2:46:18, which she turned in at the 2003 Chicago Marathon, a time that qualified her for the U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials the following year.

"I look forward to the joy of racing The San Francisco Marathon yet another year. The race has morphed into a real family affair," said Mallon. Her husband, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law who has just returned from the war in Afghanistan are running in the 1st Half Marathon. Mallon's infant daughter and parents will be waiting for her at the finish line.

The 2009 San Francisco Marathon, on Sunday, July 26, starts and finishes on the Embarcadero at Mission Street, near Justin Herman Plaza and the Ferry Building. The official starting time is 5:30 a.m. Top marathon runners are expected to reach the finish line at Embarcadero and Folsom at approximately 7:50 a.m. Top runners in the 2nd Half Marathon, which starts in Golden Gate Park, will reach the same finish line at about 9:20 a.m.

REGISTRATION DETAILS and more information about The San Francisco Marathon(TM), and all of the marathon's events, are available online at

About The San Francisco Marathon(TM)
The San Francisco Marathon enjoys success as the premier summertime marathon in the U.S. San Francisco's blend of natural beauty, big city charm, and perfect mid-summer running temperatures, make marathon running in San Francisco a truly magical experience. Race events include a full marathon, two half marathons (choose a half), 5K, and Progressive Marathon. The event's unique Cause to Run program has raised over $10 million for local non-profit organizations since 2003. The San Francisco Marathon's Youth Run4Fun running program allows San Francisco's underprivileged youth, ages 7 to 17, to train for, and participate in, the marathon's events without cost.

The 2009 San Francisco Marathon is sponsored by CytoSport, Gu Energy Gel, and Organs 'R' Us. Our partners include Committed 2 Community, The San Francisco Marathon Training Program, Youth Run4Fun, The Big Rumble, and the San Francisco Amateur Radio Club.

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