Posted by: Joe English | January 14, 2009

Races: Rock N Roll Arizona to see 50KM World Record Attempt

Josh Cox

Josh Cox

PHOENIX — PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona, set for this weekend here in Phoenix, will see a world record attempt at the 50KM (31.05 miles) by U.S. marathon runner Josh Cox. The world record attempt will be made using the full marathon course and then Cox will run the remaining 4+ miles on the track at Arizona State University which sits next to the finish-line of the race course.

In other elite action, defending champions Mike Aish of New Zealand and Ethiopia’s Adanech Zekiros — who will be hoping to make it three in a row — will also return to try to win titles in the full marathon.

Cox Goes for 50KM World-Record
Cox will attempt to set a world best and American record at 50 kilometers (31.05 miles). After running the entire length of the marathon course, he will continue into the adjacent ASU Sun Angel stadium, where he will run just over 18 laps on the 400 meter track. The entire course is USATF and IAAF certified.

“I’m thrilled to be taking part in P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona and am particularly excited to be taking a shot at the 50K record,” said Cox, who is currently living and training in Mammoth Lakes, CA. “The marathon is grueling enough by itself, tack on an additional five miles and things should really get interesting. My training has been going well, but I’m excited to get down to sea level. I’m definitely ready to rock and roll.”

Cox’s last marathon was a win at the Rocket City Marathon in December, in which he ran 2:21:19. He ran 2:15:17 in the 2004 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

The American Record in the 50KM Road Distance was set March 2008 by Michael Wardian in 2:55:05. Wardian broke the 1981 record of 2:55:54 set by Richard Holloway. The 50KM distance doesn’t appear in the list of official world records. There are unconfirmed records at 50KM of as fast as 2:48:33, but these were not validated by the IAAF.

Defending Champion Returns to Arizona
Mike Aish of New Zealand returns to defend his title as the overall champion. He ran 2:13:21 to take the win in the 2008 race.

Aish’s victory last year may have come as a shock for many observers, but a victory in a big city marathon had been coming for some time after consistent performances over his marathon career. For Aish to make it a double in Arizona, he will once again have to be in top form as he faces some great talent from across the globe.

Making his marathon debut this weekend will be Moses Kigen of Kenya. Moses owns a PR of 1:00:37 for the half marathon which shows that he definitely has the speed and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the distance.

Other contender’s include Ethiopian trio Araya Haregot, Tesfaye Bekele, Tekeste Kebede and Kenya’s Fred Mogaka all of whom are capable of claiming victory. The entire field of elite athletes will be introduced during the prerace Health & Fitness Expo Friday afternoon at 2:15 pm.

Zekiros Goes for Win Number Three
Ethiopia’s Adanech Zekiros, who will be hoping to make it three in a row. Zekiros will come into the race confident she can achieve a hat-trick of victories. After her second consecutive win in Arizona last January, she produced two outstanding performances in 2008 when finishing runner-up in both the Rotterdam and Amsterdam marathons.

One of her main challengers Salomie Getnet knows how it is to be knocked off the top of the podium, she herself has finished second in the last two editions of the race. The European challenge will likely come from Olena Shurkhno of Ukraine, who is no stranger to victory having won on six separate occasions over the distance including the Country Music Marathon in 2007.

We will have complete coverage from the race starting Friday and through the weekend. Check back to Running Advice and News for all of your PF Chang’s Arizona Rock N Roll Marathon news.

Running Advice and News


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