Posted by: Joe English | June 1, 2008

Races: Wangai & Gromova win 2008 Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon

Wangai Rock N Roll MarathonSAN DIEGO — With coastal temperatures and overcast skies, the 2008 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon crowned two new champions in the men’s and women’s races. Competing in near ideal distance running conditions, Simon Wangai of Kenya emerged victorious in the crowded field at the 11th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll in San Diego.

Seven runners were grouped together well into the final third of the race but Wangai, 28, was the strongest, winning in a time of two hours, ten minutes and six seconds.

Kenyans Leonard Maina, 29, Hilary Kimaiyo, 26, and James Getanda, 25, rounded out the top four places with times under 2:12:00. Ethiopian Kebede Tekeste, 26, finished in fifth place.

“The first half was too quick for many of the runners because there was a large group and although it was fast, I felt good and I was sure I could win after 24 miles,” said Wangai. “I’m delighted to win in San Diego after my victory last year in Nashville. It was a great race and I’m looking forward coming back.”

A strong men’s field of 25 runners promised tough competition. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon’s event record of 2:08:33, set by Phillip Tarus in 1999, was in jeopardy throughout the majority of the race. At the half-marathon split, the men were on pace to run what would have been a record breaking 2:08:10 full marathon time.

“One hour and four minutes is right on schedule for a record time,” said Matt Turnbull, Athlete Coordinator for Elite Racing. “As the pack got smaller the pace got slower; however, it was a competitive race up until the last four miles.”

Many of the runners in the lead group fell off as the second half of the race continued around picturesque Mission Bay, including defending champion Daniel Yego.

“Yego may have been hurt by the quick splits over the first half of the race,” said Turnbull. “He competed in Rotterdam less than two months ago and there may have been too much running in his legs to keep up with the pace throughout the race.”

By mile 21 it was a two man competition between Wangai and Maina along the scenic San Diego river portion of the course. Halfway through mile 22 Wangai made his first move and never looked back.

It was a disappointing experience for 2007 Chicago Marathon Champion Patrick Ivuti, who dropped out after the 12-mile mark with a hamstring injury.

In the women’s race, Yulia Gromova cruised to a 2:28:23, a new personal record. Gromova, 34, who finished second in the Los Angeles Marathon earlier this year, exceeded her previous best of 2:34:12, by almost 6 minutes.

Wangai and Gromova each won $35,000 out of a total prize purse of $170,000.

The pace of the women’s race was set early by 38-year-old Nuta Olaru from Romania, along with Kenyan Jemima Sumgong, 23 and Ethiopian Sisay Measo, 31. They held a lead of over a minute at the halfway point before the trailing Gromova closed the gap.

“I never lost a visual of the lead runners,” Gromova said about trailing by over a minute. “I didn’t really know the split times; I was just running my own pace.”

The top American male finisher was Mark Batras, from Rosemead, CA, with a time of 2:32:07. Brad Ray, of New Mexico, won the wheelchair race in a time of 1:46:23.

2008 Rock N Roll Marathon Men’s Champions
1. Simon Wangai, Kenya, 2:10:07, $35,000
2. Lenard Maina, Kenya, 2:10:56, $20,000
3. Hilary Kimaiyo, Kenya, 2:11:27 $10,000
4. James Getanda, Kenya, 2:11:50, $7,500
5. Kebede Tekeste, Ethopia, 2:12:10, $5,000

2008 Rock N Roll Marathon Women’s Champions
1. Yulia Gromova, Russia, 2:28:23, $35,000
2. Jemima Sumgong, Kenya, 2:30:18, $20,000
3. Nuta Olaru, Romania, 2:30:54, $10,000
4. Liliya Yadzhak, Russia, 2:35:53, $7,500
5. Sisay Measo, Ethiopia, 2:41:09, $5,000

Content courtesy Elite Racing
Running Advice and News



  1. […] Races: Wangai & Gromova win 2008 Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon […]

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