Posted by: Joe English | January 18, 2009

Races: Kigen Wins 2009 Rock N Roll Arizona in Marathon Debut

Rock N Roll Arizona Start 2009

Rock N Roll Arizona Start 2009

PHOENIX — Moses Kigen of Kenya won the men’s title in his marathon debut today at the 2009 PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon, narrowly missing the course record. His final sprint was good for a half second victory over Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede.

Kigen, 25, won the race in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 36 seconds, the second-best time in the six year history of the event.

Run under perfect conditions, the day provided an excellent opportunity to go after the course the record. The weather was clear and mostly calm with temperatures starting at 48 degrees in the morning.

“It feels great to win in my first marathon,” said Kigan. “The course is fantastic, flat and very fast. The running conditions were perfect. I’m going to come back for the course record next year.”

How it Unfolded
Nearly the entire men’s field jockeyed for position over the first few miles of the race. A lead pack of seven runners then began to click off sub 5-minute miles. After the 10 mile mark, mile splits were 4:51, 4:53 and 4:44, with a half marathon split of 1:05:09. At the 25K mark, Kigan, Kebde, and fourth place finisher Keteme Nigusse of Ethiopia pulled away.

It was a three man race until the water station at mile 22, when the pace caught up to Nigusse and he fell back. Kigan and Kebede ran side-by-side until the final few meters. Kigen, who also finished third overall at the 2008 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Jose, received $20,000 for his first place effort.

Defending Champion Michael Aish of New Zealand finished sixth overall.

The Women’s Elite Race
In the women’s marathon, Olena Shurkhno of the Ukraine cruised to victory in 2:31:22, nearly three minutes ahead of Ethiopia’s Salomie Getnet. In addition to six European marathon titles, Shurkhno has previously won the 2007 Country Music Marathon and was also runner up in Nashville last year. Two time-defending champion Adanech Zekiros of Ethiopia dropped out with an injury before mile 19.

After leading five miles over the first half of the race, local Arizona resident Sally Meyerhoff finished in fifth place setting a new PR with a time of 2:35:52. Meyerhoff won additional prize money as the first American woman, Arizona resident and Maricopa County finisher.

“The conditions and the course were beautiful,” said Meyerhoff, who qualified for the Olympic Trials in Arizona last year. “The crowd support was great and it was really exciting to lead the race at the halfway point.”

Albuquerque resident Kris Houghton and Nickey Archer of the United Kingdom won the half marathons in the men’s and women’s division.

“It felt great to win, but I was hoping to go a little faster,” said Houghton, who finished with a time of 1:08:22. “I was out in the front all alone and a cramp in my hamstring also slowed me down a little.”

A record field turned out for the first race in the 2009 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Annually the largest combined marathon and half marathon in the U.S., the sixth annual event was the largest in the history of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series.

PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon 2009
Men’s Overall Results

1. Moses Kigen, Kenya, 2:10:36
2. Tekeste Kebede, Ethiopia, 2:10:36
3. Tesfaye Bekele, Ethiopia, 2:14:17
4. Keteme Nigusse, Ethiopia, 2:14:26
5. Fred Mogaka, Kenya, 2:14:52

Women’s Overall Results
1. Olena Shurkhno, Ukraine, 2:31:22
2. Salomie Getnet, Ethiopia, 2:33:03
3. Asnakech Mengistu, Ethiopia, 2:33:32
4. Meseret Legesse, Ethiopia, 2:35:34
5. Sally Meyerhoff, USA, 2:35:52

Source: Elite Racing
Runing Advice and News
http://www.running-advice.com

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