Near-perfect racing conditions made for great action, fast times and a memorable experience for 5,500 finishers
By Julie Armstrong
MONTEREY, Calif. - (November 15, 2009) - At the 7th Big Sur Half Marathon on Sunday, Stephen Muange, from Kenya, led the event's largest elite field ever to win in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 37 seconds, the second fastest performance at the event.
A tight pack of elites, including Muange, Ezkyas Sisay (ETH), Crosby Freeman (CA), Sergio Reyes (CA), Josh Spiker (CA) and Moses Kororia (KEN) tore through the first two miles in 9:57, a fast pace that would hold steady. Near three miles, Muange and Sisay pulled away from the other hopefuls, opening a 26 second lead by mile 4.
On the event's steepest hill rising into downtown Pacific Grove, Muange, 28, powered ahead to put away Sisay, his final challenger. A 4:38 fifth mile ended any questions about the winner of this year's event. As Muange continued his solo race, Reyes slowly reeled in Sisay, eventually setting up an all out sprint to the finish for second place. Sisay, a native Ethiopian who now trains in Flagstaff, AZ, finished second in 1:05:25 and Reyes took third one second later in 1:05:26. Kororia, exhausted from a 26 hour flight from Kenya, held on for fourth in 1:06:32, while Freeman was fifth (1:06:43).
The female competition was a four women battle until the turnaround point just before mile 8. Mary Akor (CA), the 2005 Big Sur International Marathon champion, Lauren Johnson (OR), Fiona Docherty (NZL) and Peris Chumba (KEN) jostled for position while drafting behind some fast male runners. Akor, originally from Nigeria, made her move just past the turnaround and pulled away to win by almost one minute in 1:15:55. Docherty, a native New Zealander, who now trains in Boulder, CO with running legend Steve Jones, finished second in 1:16:37. Johnson moved up one spot from last year's fourth place finish to take third in 1:17:04. Chumba, a Kenyan who now trains in Aurora, CO took fourth in 1:17:47. Former Carmel, CA resident (now of San Francisco, CA) Brooke Wells finished fifth (1:19:24).
In the Masters race, Kevin Sheehy of Boise, ID, dominated the 40 and older crowd with a new Masters course record of 1:10:29. This mark shattered Fred Arapmayiek's 2006 record of 1:12:00 by over a minute and a half. Todd Booth of Santa Barbara, CA, was runner-up in 1:14:22 and four-time Masters champion Jeff Magallanes from Seaside placed third (1:16:55).
Magdalena Visser and Mary Coordt waged a good battle for the women's Masters crown with Visser of San Francisco, CA, taking the title in 1:20:13. Coordt (Elk Grove, CA), a two-time Big Sur International Marathon champion, who recently turned 40, took second in 1:20:27. Melinda DiNapoli of Saratoga, CA, was the third Master (1:27:07).
With a backdrop of clear skies, crashing waves along the Pacific shoreline and a cool, but sunny morning, the day was picture perfect for the 5,500 finishers in the half-marathon, 10 mile walk and 5K. The Eighth Presentation will take place on November 14, 2010 with registration opening on April 1, 2010.
7th Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay
Monterey, CA, Sunday, November 15, 2009
1) Stephen Muange (KEN), 1:03:37, $2000
2) Ezkyas Sisay (ETH), 1:05:25, $1000
3) Sergio Reyes (USA / CA), 1:05:26, $800
4) Moses Kororia (KEN), 1:06:32, $600
5) Crosby Freeman (USA / CA), 1:06:43, $400
6) Josh Spiker (USA / CA), 1:07:03, $200
7) Kevin Peters (USA / ID), 1:08:31, $200
8) Matt Tyrrell (USA / CA), 1:09:40, $50
MASTERS MEN (40+)
1) Kevin Sheehy, 40, ID, 1:10:29, $500
2) Todd Booth, 40, CA, 1:14:22, $300
3) Jeff Magallanes, 47, CA, 1:16:55, $100
1) Mary Akor (USA / CA), 1:15:55, $2000
2) Fiona Docherty (NZL), 1:16:37, $1000
3) Lauren Johnson (USA / CA), 1:17:04, $800
4) Peris Chumba (KEN), 1:17:47, $600
5) Brooke Wells (USA / CA), 1:19:24, $400
6) Magdalena Visser, 41, CA, 1:20:13, $200
7) Mary Coordt, 40, CA, 1:20:27, $200
8) Jenny Wilson (USA / CA), 1:23:11, $50
MASTERS WOMEN (40+)
1) Visser, see above, $500
2) Coordt, see above, $300
3) Melinda DiNapoli, 40, CA, 1:27:07, $100
Full results at: BigSurHalfMarathon.org.