Posted by: Joe English | March 30, 2008

Races: ING Georgia Marathon year two in the books despite cold weather, storm damage

ATLANTA — The ING Georgia marathon made it through its second running yesterday without major incidents, although there were some fairly wonky things that went on: last year’s winner dropped from the full to the half marathon during the race to take the win in the half; one of the top two women takes the wrong course, finishing the half-marathon instead of the full; and the revised start reportedly sent runners through paths only ten feet wide in places causing some bottlenecks. At least the weather, albeit cold, was more ammenable to running this year than last.

With temperatures in the forties this morning and blustery winds blowing, the conditions were not a repeat of last year’s 80 degree broiler. The conditions suited the men’s and women’s winners, Oleg Marusin and Alena Vinitskaya, from Russia and Belarus respectively. Marusin actually relished the cold, saying after the race “[f]or me, this is like tropics. Back at home in Russia, we train in masks at minus-30 Celsius.”

Marusin won the men’s race by a large margin crossing the tape in 2:18:50. The next closest finisher was Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya in 2:21:22. Joseph Chirlee, last year’s marathon winner, dropped from the full to the half marathon, winning the half in 1:06:43. In addition to winning the 2007 ING Georgia Marathon, Chirlee finished fourth at the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego and 16th at the New York City Marathon.

On the women’s side, Alena Vinitskaya of Belarus takes top honors in 2:41:13, defeating defending champion Valentina Levushkina of Russia who finished in 2:43:19. “I have practiced in cold weather,” Vinitskaya, 34, said. “I think that for people who have practiced in warm weather, it’s cold. It’s real cold.”

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “[f]or the first seven miles, Vinitskaya was challenged by Meseret Kotu of Ethiopia. However, Kotu took a wrong turn where the two race courses split and was distraught to find herself finishing the half marathon. Her third-place showing in the half was no consolation.”

Last week you may recall, I wrote about a change in the race course due to tornado damage in downtown Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Constitution article also added this note about the changed course: “Fearing falling glass from the Omni Hotel, organizers scrambled Saturday to move the course away from the building. The solution: a zig-zag pattern within the park on a narrow path about 10 feet wide in some places.” Sounds like a bit of a rough way to get a marathon underway with thousands of runners in the mix.

Among more than 14,000 entrants, just 10,793 started: 2,444 marathoners and 8,349 half marathoners.

Elite Results for the 2008 ING Georgia Marathon
1. Oleg Marusin 2:18.50
2. Jonathan Ndambuki 2:21.22
3. Kassahun Kabiso 2:21.59

1. Alena Vinitskaya 2:41:13
2. Valentina Levushkina 2:43.19
3. Rima Dubovik 2:50:34

Half-marathon Division

1. Joseph Chirlee 1:06:43
2. Tamrat Ayalew 1:07:23
3. Jared Abuya 1:07:35

1. Janet Cherobon 1:13:48
2. Mary Akor 1:15:13
3. Meseret Kotu 1:18:58

Complete Results for the ING Georgia Marathon can be found by clicking here.

For a photo gallery of some selected photos from the ING Georgia Marathon from, click here.

Joe English for Running Advice and News



  1. […] Advice & News from Joe English Races: ING Georgia Marathon year two in the books despite cold weather, storm damageTV: ING Georgia Marathon Television Broadcast InformationRaces: ING Georgia Marathon goes on after […]

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