Posted by: Joe English | January 25, 2009

Races: Slimani, Suskek Win ING Miami Marathon 2009

MIAMI — A trio of Americans took home three of the four titles at 2009 ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon. Americans Michele Suskek of Colorado won the women’s ING Miami Marathon, and Pat Hayburn of Pennsylvania and Susanne Larsen of Michigan won the men’s and women’s half marathons, respectively.

Italian Benazzouz Slimani won the men’s marathon in 2:16:49.

This year’s edition of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon included the largest number of participants in its seven-year history, with a sold-out field of 15,000 for all distances at the event.

Thirty-four-year-old Slimani closed strong to win the 26.2-mile race with a time of 2:16:49. In a decisive win, Slimani stepped ahead as the leader early and maintained a strong pace the entire race.

“This is my first race in the United States and this is such beautiful city, culture and country,” said Slimani. “I am very happy to win my first American race here and look forward to running more races in the United States.” Kenyan Jynocel Basweti secured second place in the marathon, staying within sight of the leader the entire race; he completed the marathon is a time of 2:18:14. Basweti’s fellow countryman Edward Tabut rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 2:18:30.

Michele Suskek pulled off an exciting come-from-behind victory in the women’s race, making her final pass in the last half mile to win by 20 seconds, with a final time of 2:43:31. “With two miles to go, I could see the leader ahead and pushed the pace,” said the twenty-six-year-old female champion. “I never thought about passing her and was just praying my pace was good enough.”

Suskek had heart surgery in 2003 for complications from Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. Now fully recovered, she had hoped for a personal record.

“I was 30 seconds off my personal best today, but I’m happy with the final result.” Suskek bested Kenyan Zeddy Chepkoech, who held the lead for most of the 26.2 mile course. Chepkoech finished in second place with a time of 2:43:51. Ecuadorian Sandra Ruales Mosquera finished in 2:50:36 to capture the third place.

The men’s division of the ING Miami Half Marathon was won by Pat Hayburn of Pennsylvania in 1:11:12. “The field spread out a bit early and I was actually able to enjoy the race a bit,” said Hayburn. “The course is really beautiful — the cruise ships and seeing the sunrise as you run — it’s a big difference from home.” Hayburn held to the fast pace by his teammate, training partner and next-door neighbor Kevin Cunningham, who earned second place with a time of 1:11:32. Jose Gutembergue Ferreira of Brazil ran a 1:13:00 to claim third place in the 13.1-mile contest.

Suzanne Larsen of Michigan captured the ING Miami Half Marathon title by finishing in 1:20:38. She handily staved off second-place finisher Karina Navarette Duena of Ecuador, who finished in 1:23:50. “I felt really great, but coming from Michigan, I knew this would be a great race,” said Larsen. “It’s a treat not to run on ice this time of year.” Mexico-native Yamile Alaluf took third place in the women’s half marathon with a time of 1:24:54.

A total of 12,376 racers started the race under ideal temperatures of 61 degrees at American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. Of the total starters, 12,219 racers finished both the marathon and half marathon courses today, with 2,630 completing the 26.2-mile course.

The marathon traveled to Miami Beach neighborhoods and back along picturesque causeways, finishing at Bayfront Park.

The half marathon had 9,589 finishers on the 13.1-mile course, for a finish rate of 98%.

For more information on the results of the ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon, please visit www.ingmiamimarathon.com. Next year’s ING Miami Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010.

Source: ING Miami Marathon
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