Posted by: Joe English | April 15, 2009

Races — Women’s Field to start first in Nashville at Country Music Marathon

Nashville, TN –– Following a trend that some of the world’s top marathons are now following, the women’s professional field will start approximately 15 minutes ahead of the men on Saturday, April 25 at the Country Music Marathon. According to race organizers, “for the first time in its 10 year history, the 2009 race will match the elite women against the elite men in a special ‘Battle of the Sexes’ format” that will award the first runner to cross the finish line a bonus of $10,000.

“The gender challenge is a unique twist we implemented for the 10th anniversary of the event,” said Adam Zocks , General Manager. “Ideally, with the lead male runner closing on the lead female runner, it adds a special touch and provides extra entertainment at the end of the elite race for the thousands of spectators who come out to watch. I’m certain everyone will want to see the race to the finish line.”

The men’s field is lead by Joseph Chirlee, 27, who currently resides in Georgia , but is originally from Eldoret in Kenya . Chirlee, owner of a top-5 finish at the 2007 New York City Half Marathon, is better known on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series for his unfortunate fall mere steps before the finish line in 2007 at San Diego . The incident cost Chirlee third place, but he picked himself up and staggered home for finish in fourth overall with a time of 2:12:10. The same year he also won the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville , Ala.

Alirio Carasco of Colombia has made two Colombian Olympic teams off the strength of his Country Music performances – 4th in 2000 and 3rd in 2004 – and owns a PR of 2:12:09 set at the Chicago Marathon in 2003. Abebe Yimer, two-time winner of the Las Vegas Marathon, and Amos Matui, PR of 2:12:14 set in Brussels in 2004, round out the favorites on the men’s side.

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