Posted by: Joe English | September 22, 2008

Races: Birhanu, Shobukhova win at Philadelphia Distance Run

Birhanu wins Philly Distance Run 2008

Birhanu wins Philly Distance Run 2008

Philadelphia, PA – September 21, 2008 – Under clear skies outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Yirefu Birhanu of Ethiopia and Lilya Shobukhova of Russia won the 31st annual ING Philadelphia Distance Run.

Birhanu, 22, negotiated the 13.1 mile course through Philadelphia’s streets in a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 22 seconds.

“It feels really good to win, especially running a fast time,” said Birhanu. “It was good to see a lot of fast times from the other runners, the flat course really helped me keep a rhythm.”

Birhaun pulled away late from perhaps the most tightly contested pack of front runners in the Distance Run’s history, barely edging fellow Ethiopians Terefu Zwedie who ran 1:01:23, while Girma Tola finished third in 1:01:26.

Kenyan McDonard Ondara came in fourth at 1:01:32. Kenya’s Valentine Orare (1:01:37) and Boaz Cheboiywo (1:01:34) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The men’s pack turned south on to Kelly Drive after crossing the Schuylkill River over Falls Bridge, still tightly packed as they had been from the start of the race. With nine runners clustered in the lead pack as late as the 15k mark, the middle of the race was just as close as the finish.

On the women’s side, Shobukhova took the over the last mile of the race on the way to her victory. With a time of 1:01:21, she beat out the marathon world champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, who finished second in 1:10:31. Fellow Kenyan Irene Limika took third in 1:10:50.

Shobukhova finished 5th in the 5000 meter race at the Beijing Olympics last month.

World-champion Ndereba said after the race that “[Philadelphia is] a very meaningful place for me. I came here to run fast and I’m happy with my performance. I look forward to running in Philadelphia next year.” She said is press reports that she did not feel fully recovered yet from the marathon in Beijing.

The 13.1-mile city course started and finished at Eakins Oval, adjacent to Philadelphia Museum of Art, and made its way through downtown Philadelphia until looping back along Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Schuylkill River. Participants were treated to live music at nearly every mile on the course, which entertained and motivated them to stay energized and finish strong.

The 2008 edition of Philadelphia’s Classic Half Marathon included four kid’s races and approximately 30 athletes with Team McGraw, an official race charity benefiting the foundation named after Phillies’ legend Tug McGraw. McGraw’s former Phillies teammates Larry Christenson and Greg “The Bull” Luzinski kicked off the run with Team McGraw.

“I have a lot of respect for all the people of all ages out here competing,” said Lusinski, owner of Bull’s Barbecue at Citizens Bank Park. “Today’s effort was a tremendous success and with his son Mike running a time of 1 hour and 28 minutes, no doubt Tug would have been proud.”

Matt Byrne, 29, and Abby Dean, 37, took top local honors as the first male and female finishers from the City of Philadelphia. Both earned $1,000 for their efforts. When asked how they would spend their first prize winnings, each answered with an identical response: “Pay off some bills.”

2008 Philadelphia Distance Run Elite Race Results
Place/Name/Age/Country/Time/Prize Money
MEN’S FIELD
1. Yirefu Birhanu, 22, Ethiopia, 1:01:22, $3,500
2. Terefu Zwedie, 25, Ethiopia, 1:01:23, $2,000
3. Girma Tola, 33, Ethiopia, 1:01:26, $1,500
4. McDonard Ondara, 23, Kenya, 1:01:32, $1,000
5. Valentine Orare, 25, Kenya, 1:01:33, $750

WOMEN’S FIELD
1. Liliya Shobukhova, 30, Russia, 1:10:21, $3,500
2. Catherine Ndereba, 26, Kenya, 1:10:31, $2,000
3. Irene Limika, 29, Kenya, 1:10:50, $1,500
4. Nriah Asiba, 27, Kenya, 1:10:58, $1,000
5. Aziza Ayilu, Ethiopia, 23, 1:11:06, $750

MASTERS (40+ YRS)
MEN
1. Gideon Mutisya, 40, Kenya, 1:09:15, $1,000
2. Scott Lebo, 42, Pottstown, PA, 1:11:33, $500
3. Thomas Dever, 51, Terre Haute, IN, 1:12:42, $250

WOMEN
1. Doreen McCoubrie, 46, Malvern, PA, 1:20:15, $1,000
2. Kelly Dworak, 46, Wysox, PA, 1:22:04, $500
3. Eileen Patrick, 40, Ruxton, MD, 1:22:48, $250

WHEELCHAIR
1. M Tony Nogueira, 40, Glen Ridge, NJ, 48:19
1. F Jacqui Kapinowski, 45, Point Pleasant, NJ, 1:17:06

TOP PHILLY FINISHERS
MALE
1. Matt Byrne, 29, Philadelphia, PA, 1:07:47, $1,000

FEMALE
1. Abby Dean, 37, Philadelphia, PA, 1:17:50, $1,000

Source: Elite Racing / Competitor Group
Running Advice and News
http://www.running-advice.com

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