Bay Area Olympian Magdalena Lewy-Boulet leads the women's field
San Jose, CA -- September 29, 2009 -- Meb Keflezighi, who earlier this year won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Houston, will line up as the favorite in this weekend's Rock 'n'Roll Half Marathon in San Jose. The fourth annual road race is scheduled to start at 8:00 am Sunday, October 4, near San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose.
Known as California's fastest half-marathon, the event is the home to both the men's and women's state half-marathon records. Leading the race will be a field of California's fastest men and women, with over half of the prize purse dedicated to Northern California competitors.
In 2004, Keflezighi, of Mammoth Lakes, California, became the first American man to win an Olympic marathon medal since Frank Shorter captured the silver in 1976. The same year he followed up his Olympic performance with a second-place finish at the ING New York City Marathon, establishing himself as one of the U.S.'s premier distance runners.
"The Rock 'n'Roll Half Marathon in San Jose comes at the right time in my training for the upcoming ING New York City Marathon," said Keflezighi. "I hope to run strong and finish the race, unlike my attempt in 2006. I would like to have a positive outcome, hopefully a new personal best time and a victory."
At the inaugural Rock 'n'Roll San Jose in 2006, Keflezighi suffered a hamstring cramp heading into the 11th mile and decided to pull off the course. He was in third place at the time, having gone through 10 miles at 46:45, one of the fastest times ever by an American for that distance. Kenya's Duncan Kibet won the inaugural race in a time of 1 hour, 22 seconds, a mark which still stands as the California state half-marathon record. Kibet has gone on to become the second fastest man ever to run a marathon when he won the 2009 Rotterdam marathon in 2:04:27, the fastest marathon in the world this year.
Keflezighi will face strong competition Sunday from UC Berkley graduate Bolota Asmerom. Asmerom, a three-year letter winner in track for Cal, finished 10th at last year's ING New York City Marathon. While still in college, his duel citizenship allowed him to represent Eritrea in the 5,000m at the 2000 Olympic Games.
Other contenders expected to challenge for the podium are Americans Luke Humphrey and Josh Cox. Humphrey runs with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Last year he finished eleventh at the ING New York City Marathon.
Cox, who currently trains with Keflezighi and the Mammoth Lakes Track Club, is a three-time Olympic Trials qualifier and three-time U.S. National Team member. Last January, he broke the American 50k record by over four minutes at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon.
The women's elite field will be led by Beijing Olympian Magdalena Lewy-Boulet. An Oakland resident, Lewy-Boulet made her Olympic debut for the U.S. last summer in the women's marathon after finishing second at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials where she set a personal best time of 2:30:19. She recently finished third at the U.S. 20 km Championships in New Haven, Conn.
The entire field will be introduced at the race weekend media briefing Friday, October 2 at 1:00 pm. The briefing will take place at the Plaza de Caesar Chavez in downtown San Jose adjacent to the finish line, with media credentials and race day parking passes available for pick-up.
"The fast course has made San Jose one of the hot spots to set a half-marathon PR and we're delighted the race continues to remain so attractive to both professional and recreational runners," said Shannon Davis, Event Manager. "While online registration has closed, there is still an opportunity to register for this weekend's race in person at the two-day Health and Fitness expo."
Race registration is available at the Health and Fitness Expo Friday, October 2, 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Saturday, October 3, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The free expo is open to the public and will showcase the latest in running products and services, with presentations from fitness experts. For more information on the Rock 'n'Roll Half Marathon in San Jose, please visit an-jose.competitor.com or call 800-311-1255.
About the Rock 'n'Roll Half Marathon San Jose
The Rock 'n'Roll San Jose Half Marathon will take place October 4, 2009. In addition to live bands and themed water stations along every mile of the scenic course, high school cheerleading squads will be on-site to provide further entertainment and motivation to runners and walkers. Race weekend kicks off Friday, Oct. 2 with a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the San Jose Convention Center, which is open to the public. All participants visit the expo to pick up their race numbers and browse over 100 vendors from the running and fitness industry. The event concludes Sunday with a finish line party and an afternoon rock 'n'roll headliner concert featuring Jonny Lang. For more information about the Rock 'n'Roll Marathon Series, please visit www.runrocknroll.com or call 800-311-1255.