Posted by: Joe English | June 24, 2008

Races: Mokono wins Grandma’s Marathon in debut run

(DULUTH, Minn.) Kenya’s Lamech Mokono made his Grandma’s Marathon debut a successful one today, claiming the men’s championship in the 32nd annual race. Mokono ran a personal best two hours, 13 minutes and 39 seconds, holding off a late surge from fellow Kenyan David Tuwei who finished just five seconds later in 2:13:44.

Near the 14-mile mark, the 27-year-old Mokono broke away from the pack of men’s leaders and would quickly extend his lead to nearly a minute before being threatened by Tuwei.

In the women’s division, Mary Akor, of Hawthorne, Calif., successfully defended her crown from a year ago. Akor, 31, cruised to victory in 2:38:50, nearly three minutes ahead of Kenya’s Margaret Toroitich. Sally Meyerhoff, of Scottsdale, Ariz., placed third in 2:42:58. Zinaida Semenova, 45, finished fourth in 2:43:28, and earned the female masters title.

Mokono and Akor, a native of Nigeria but now a U.S. citizen, earn first-place cash awards of $10,000.

Wisconsin’s John Mirth, 46, won the men’s masters division, finishing 24th overall with a time of 2:32:01.

Amanda McGrory, 22, successfully defended her 2006 and 2007 titles in the female wheelchair division with a winning time of 1:49:59. Krige Schabort won his third Grandma’s Marathon men’s wheelchair division title with a time of 1:29:33, two seconds faster than fellow South African Ernst Van Dyk.

A record number of 9,888 people registered for the 2008 Grandma’s Marathon and of those, 7,103 runners started the race and 6,759 finished.

The 32nd annual Grandma’s Marathon had entrants from 44 countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In the 18th annual Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, Mathew Chesang, of Olathe, Kan., ran the second fastest time in event history, winning with a time of 1:04:48. The 26-year-old Kenyan, who has been living in the U.S. since 2001, set a personal best while missing the course record by 30 seconds. Liza Hunter-Galvan, a New Zealander residing in Helotes, Texas, claimed the women’s title in 1:13:29, also a personal half-marathon best.

A record number of 6,619 people registered for the 2008 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon with 5,485 runners starting the race and 5,409 finishing.

For complete results, log on to www.GrandmasMarathon.com.

The 33rd annual Grandma’s Marathon is Saturday, June 20, 2009.

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