Posted by: Joe English | January 13, 2008

Races: New Zealand’s Asish and Ethiopia’s Zekerios win Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon

TEMPE, Ariz., (Jan. 13, 2008) – New Zealand’s Michael Aish ran to his first career marathon victory Sunday at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes 20 seconds. Returning women’s champion, Adenech Zekirios from Ethiopia, broke the course record of 2:31:33 in her repeat victory, finishing in 2:31:14. Also in the women’s race, seven American women qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon.

Adenech Zekerios wins Rock N Roll Arizona 2007
A. Zekerios wins Rock N Roll Arizona in a new course record.
Photo Joe English.

The 31-year-old Aish looked comfortable and composed in his second marathon appearance as he ran a strong race against his African counterparts.

“Sometimes when you’re feeling good and out in front, nothing can stop you,” said Aish. “This is the highlight of my running career.”

The New Zelander battled Dejene Yirdawe, 29, from Ethiopia over the last half of the course. The two men separated themselves from a field of seven as they set a 4:58 per mile pace through mile 22.

In the end, it was Aish’s persistance that gave him the upper hand as Yirdawe broke in the final two miles.

Zekiros, 25, bested countrywomen Salomie Getnet (2:34:01) and Asnakech Mengistu (2:36:18), who finished second and third respectively.

The three Ethiopians ran together through the half-marathon mark, until Zekerios emerged from mile 14 in control of the lead, having recorded a 5:25 mile. She continued on a 2:28 marathon pace, which would have shattered the course record, before she began to slow in the last four miles.

Victory in hand, Zekerios, lowered the course record by 19 seconds as she broke the finish line tape.

Finishing fourth in a time of 2:41:04, Linda Somers Smith, 46, was the first of seven American women to qualify for this year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon in the day’s race. Having achieved the Olympic “B” standard by running under 2:47:00, these women will now move on to the Olympic Trials in Boston on April 20, the day before the Boston Marathon.

Trials qualifiers from the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon include: Somers Smith from Arroyo Grande, Calif., Sally Meyerhoff from Tempe, Ariz., Kristen Henehan from Silver Springs, Md., Allison Kerr from Vacaville, Calif., Betsey Keever from San Francisco, Michele Suszek from Aurora, Co. and Lisa Thomas from Alexandria, Va.

Each of the trials qualifiers will receive $500 in addition to any top 10 prize money.

Phoenix resident Susan Loken finished seventh in a time of 2:44:24. Having already achieved the Olympic “B” standard earlier this year, Loken had hoped to earn the “A” standard by running under 2:39:00.
Tyler Byers, 25, from Sterling, Va., won the wheelchair division in a time of 1:45:07.

Through an invitational program titled “Running Down a Dream,” 39 women from 19 states were hosted by the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in their quest to join the U.S. Olympic Team.

Austin Bailey, 25, from Boulder, Co. finished first among the men in the half marathon, and Bridget Duffy, 23, from Berkeley, Calif. was the first woman. Bailey finished in 1:07:12 and Duffy finished in 1:21:46.

Elite Results for PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon
1. Mike Aish, 31, New Zealand, 2:13:20, $20,000
2. Dejene Yirdawe, 29, Ethiopia, 2:14:10, $10,000
3. Halefom Adebe, 25, Ethiopia, 2:14:30, $6,500
4. Pavel Andreev, 37, Russia, 2:15:07, $4,000
5. Lamech Mokono, 27, Phoenix, 2:15:29, $3,000
6. Shimelis, Mola, 25, Ethiopia, 2:17:44, $1,800
7. Evegeni Bozhko, 32, Ukraine, 2:18:35, $1,400
8. Wesley Ochoro, 29, Phoenix, 2:19:07, $1,200
9. Chokri Dhaouadi, 35, Tunesia, 2:21:31, $1,100
10. Stephen Muturi, 32, Rochester, MI, 2:22:13, $1,000

1. Adenech Zekiros, 25, Ethiopia, 2:31:14, $20,000
2. Salomie Getnet, 20, Ethiopia, 2:34:01, $10,000
3. Asnakech Mengistu, Ethiopia, 2:36:18, $6,500
4. Linda Sommers Smith, Arroyo Grande, CA, 2:41:04, $4,000
5. Irina Pudovkina, 25, Romania, 2:42:26, $3,000
6. Sally Meyerhoff, 24, Tempe, AZ 2:42:46, $1,800
7. Susan Loken, 43, Phoenix, 2:44:24, $1,400
8. Kristen Henehen, 28, Silver Spring, MD, 2:45:12, $1,200
9. Allison Kerr, 31 Vacaville, CA, 2:46:02, $1,100
10. Betsey Keever, 33, San Francisco, 2:46:06, $1,000

MASTERS (40 and over)
Linda Sommers Smith, 46, Arroyo Grande, CA, 2:41:04, $1,000
Nikolay Kerimov, 40, Russia, 2:26:58, $1,000

Tyler Byers, 25, Sterling, VA, 1:45:07, $600
Brad Ray, 39, Albuquerque, NM, 1:48:17, $400



  1. […] PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona: women’s race for the trials – At the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon, organizers made a real effort to bring out the ladies for a last chance to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon trials. They offered prize money for any American woman that ran a qualifying time. 32 women showed up for the race intent on qualifying. We followed the group in the press truck and it was amazing to see that many women working together at that kind of pace (2:47:00). In the end seven made the qualifying standard. It was an amazing sight to behold. For more images from PF Chang’s click here. […]

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