Marathons

Japanese women added to London Marathon field

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Nine Japanese women have been added to the elite field for next month’s Virgin London Marathon following the earthquake and tsunami which threatened to destroy their hopes of competing at the World Championships this August.

Geneti Shatters Record at Honda LA Marathon

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LOS ANGELES - (March 20, 2011) - At the 26th Honda LA Marathon on a rainy, windy Sunday morning, Markos Geneti of Ethiopia produced a debut victory, despite the inclement weather, with his 2 hour, 6 minute, 35 second impressive performance, shattering the event record by nearly two minutes and running the fastest marathon ever in California. Countrywoman Buzunesh Deba pulled away in the final miles from debutante Amy Hastings of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. to capture the women's crown in 2:26:34 to 2:27:03.

The event also featured the 8th Marathon Challenge, a gender competition in which the professional women had a 17 minute, 3 second headstart on the field. Geneti, 26, ended the Challenge the earliest in race history as he caught the leading women around mile 20 and earned a $100,000 bonus. The men and women are now tied 4-4 in this competition. Both race champions also won $25,000 and a 2011 Honda Insight EX sedan.

The women's race was a tight affair between Deba, Hastings and Mare Dibaba, also of Ethiopia, as the trio rattled off 5:40 miles over most of the Stadium to Sea course before Deba, 23, gapped Hastings during mile 24. Hastings, 27, who had battled back several times in the latter stages of the race, ran the third fastest U.S. women's marathon debut all-time and she is now the 8th fastest U.S. woman for 26.2 miles.

For the men, Geneti and Nicholas Kamakya of Kenya took control of the race at mile 8 and worked together to pull away from the field with a series of sub-4:50 miles. At mile 16, Geneti surged and went after the lead women and the $100,000 bonus. He was on pace to break the debut record of 2:05:50 by Evans Rutto of Kenya from Chicago in 2003, but a side stitch at mile 24 prevented that opportunity. Geneti's 2:06:35 is sixth fastest debut marathon of all-time and the second fastest marathon to-date this year.

Kamakya was the men's runner-up in 2:09:26, while Miguel Nuci of Turlock, Calif. was the top U.S. male finisher in 2:18:33, good for 8th overall. Two-time defending race champion and previous event record holder Wesley Korir finished fourth (2:13:23).

Out of more than 23,500 entrants, nearly 19,000 finished the 26th edition that started at Dodger Stadium and finished near the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica.

MEN

1) Markos Geneti (ETH), 2:06:35*, $125,000# plus 2011 Honda Insight EX sedan (MSRP: $23,100)

2) Nicholas Kamakya (KEN), 2:09:26, $12,500

3) Laban Moiben (KEN), 2:13:12, $10,000

4) Wesley Korir (KEN), 2:13:23, $5000

5) Jason Gutierrez (COL), 2:13:24, $2500

*event record (previous record, 2:08:24, Wesley Korir, 2009) and fastest marathon time in California

#includes $100,000 Marathon Challenge bonus

WOMEN 

1) Buzunesh Deba (ETH), 2:26:34, $25,000 plus 2011 Honda Insight EX sedan (MSRP: $23,100)

2) Amy Hastings (USA / AZ), 2:27:03, $12,500

3) Mare Dibaba (ETH), 2:30:25, $10,000

4) Diane Nukuri (BDI), 2:33:47, $5000

5) Iulia Arkhipova (KGZ), 2:33:35, $2500

For full results and more, go to: www.LAmarathon.com

Simon Bairu Joins "best-ever" Canadian Marathon Field for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront

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TORONTO. March 17th. Organizers have confirmed that Simon Bairu will compete in this year's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 16th. The addition of Bairu to the Start List sets the stage for what will arguably be the best-ever Canadian race over the classic 42.195km distance. He will join Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and Rob Watson from Guelph's Speed River Club, and Kingston's Dylan Wykes, who is currently training with Richard Lee's Lower Mainland Group in Vancouver. Coolsaet, Gillis, Wykes and Watson are currently ranked #1, #2, #3 and #4 in the Marathon in Canada. Bairu set an impressive new Canadian 10,000m record of 27:23 last May, before dropping out of his much-anticipated marathon debut in New York City in November.

Combined, the five athletes arguably represent the best group of men's marathoners that Canada has ever had — an certainly combined on the same starting line. When Coolsaet ran 2:11:23 at last year's Toronto Waterfront, it was the fastest marathon ever run on Canadian soil, and the fastest marathon by a Canadian in 24 years. It also gave him an Olympic qualifying standard for London 2012, with a sub-2:11:30. Gillis narrowly missed the challenging Athletics' Canada standard, running 2:12:08 at STWM 2010, one place behind Coolsaet. Two months later, Wykes had a major breakthrough, taking his previous marathon best of 2:15:16 down to 2:12:39 in winning the California International Marathon in Sacramento. Watson made his debut at the Houston Marathon in January in a disappointing 2:16:17 after passing halfway in 65:28. As Canadian 10K Road Champion and runner-up at the 2010 National Cross Country, he is favoured to do much better in his second outing. Simon Bairu is considered by some to be the best of the group, following an outstanding career for Canada at shorter distances, capped by his a 13th place finish at the 2010 World Cross Country Championships [the first non-African] in March, and his impressive 10,000m record set on the track at Stanford last May.

The 27 year old son of an Eritrean-born father and an Ethiopian-born mother grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan. He excelled in his collegiate career at Wisconsin, where he won the NCAA Cross Country titles in both 2005 and 2006, before moving [after graduation] with his coach Jerry Schumacher, to Portland, Oregon to train with the Nike group. His training partners include such USA stars as Chris Solinsky, Shalane Flanagan, and Matt Tegenkamp.

His record speaks for itself. In an interview last year, Christopher Kelsall referred to him as "the greatest distance runner in Canadian history."In addition to the 10,000m record, he has won an unprecedented seven Canadian National Cross Country titles, defeated Ryan Hall to win Rock ‘n Roll Arizona last January, and then ran 62:08 at the Philly Half in September. This is a minute and a half faster than any other Canadian currently running. In December he was named joint winner [with Priscilla Lopes-Schliep] of the Cal D. Bricker Memorial Trophy (for outstanding performance of the year), by Athletics Canada, AND winner of the Fred Begley Memorial Trophy (outstanding athlete of the year in off-track events). The same month, he received a "Golden Shoe Award for 2010? from Canadian Running magazine."Does his dominance suggest something about the state of Canadian distance running? No it doesn't," claimed Kelsall."He is just that good."

Bairu's inclusion in October's Toronto Waterfront Marathon creates the "perfect race scenario,"said Race Director, Alan Brookes. "We are delighted to have Simon on the Start Line for STWM,"Brookes added. "Now we're 5 for 5! What a spectacle it's going to be, with the best, deepest group of Canadians we've ever had, going head-to-head on the streets of Toronto, battling it out for 3 Olympic places and hopefully Jerome Drayton's 36-year-old national record of 2:10:09. It will be a de facto Olympic Trials. It will be a tremendous spectacle, a huge boost for Canadian marathoning and athletics in general in the country."Scotiabank has sweetened the pot, adding a $36,000 bonus for the first person to take down Drayton's long-standing mark – set at Fukuoka in 1975, before any of this Fall's combatants were born.

For Bairu, the decision to run Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this Fall, "was a no brainer for me. I think Alan [Brookes, Race Director] and his team have really done a great job over the years of building Toronto Waterfront into a world class event. For me personally, I can't think of a more exciting opportunity than to try and qualify for my first Olympic team on Canadian soil. For Canadian distance running, it's very exciting to have a race in Toronto where you have 5 guys who all have a shot at making the Olympic team. It's gonna be a great event and I'm excited to be a part of it. I've been racing those guys for some time now. I still remember battling Dylan 10 years ago for the junior XC title in Moncton. When you've been racing guys for that long you develop a friendship and respect. I have a lot of respect for what they've been able to do in the marathon over the past year and I know they'll be bringing it on October 16 and I'm gonna work hard to be ready for them."

Despite the set-back in New York last Fall, Simon and Coach Schumacher have taken a bold gamble with the marathon. Following his outstanding 10,000m performance last May, the easiest route to London 2012 might have been opting for the 10k. It would have guaranteed funding, major Federation support and an almost automatic ticket to the Games. Instead, they have courageously decided to go for glory in the marathon.

According to Simon: "The goal has always been to try and give myself the best opportunity to bring home an Olympic medal. Jerry and I truly believe that opportunity is the marathon. That doesn't mean there won't be some setbacks and a learning curve along the way but at the end of the day I have no doubt at all that once I figure the marathon out I'll be doing some special things."  

As to how he hopes to do on Toronto's Waterfront: "Well, for starters, I plan on finishing this time! All kidding aside, the goal is to first and foremost make the Olympic team which won't be an easy task but if I can secure that, I'll be going after Jerome! I've always been very confident in myself and that will never change. I will run sub 2:10. I can't say if it will be this year, next year or in three years, but eventually I'm gonna figure it out."  

Regardless of the outcome, Canadian marathoners can look forward to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront on October 16th, with an excitement and anticipation not felt in Canadian distance running for many years. Registration is now open for recreational and charity runners at www.stwm.ca

Chevron Houston Marathon's Run for a Reason Charity Program Sets New Record, Breaks $2-Million Milestone

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HOUSTON (Mar. 16, 2011) - The Chevron Houston Marathon's Run for a Reason charity program has raised a record $2,086,000 to benefit 52 charities. With more than 16,000 donations, the 2010-2011 season marks the second consecutive year the Run for a Reason program has set a new fundraising record, generating more than $12.4 million in the program's 17-year history.

Race participants and donors raised $1.7 million prior to race day, January 30, 2011, of the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and El Paso Corporation 5K (EP5K), nearly reaching the program's previous record total of $1.8 million set in 2010.

"The growth and success of our Run for a Reason program is attributed to the dedicated runners and fundraisers who continue to do extraordinary things for charity and our community," said Wade Morehead, executive director of the Houston Marathon Committee. "It is important to our organization to give back, and we are honored that we can help these charities use our event as an avenue to raise money, especially during these challenging economic times when funds are needed more than ever."

The Run for a Reason program links runners with participating nonprofits and provides a platform for charities to raise awareness and funds as well as educate others about their cause. The program also offers alternative ways to enter the marathon and half marathon races through "Heroes" charity registration and "fundraise for registration" options. Details about these charity registrations can be found at RunforaReasonHouston.org.

More than 25,000 runners participated in the 39th annual Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon, EP5K and Texas Children's Hospital Kids' Fun Run this past January.

Official 2011-2012 Run for a Reason charities will be announced on May 2, 2011.

The 40th anniversary running of the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and EP5K is scheduled for January 15, 2012. Registration for the marathon and half marathon races opens on June 1, 2011 at www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com.

To learn more about the Run for a Reason charity program, please visit RunforaReasonHouston.org.

About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.: Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. (HMC), a Running USA Founding Member, annually organizes the nation's premier winter marathon, half-marathon, 5K and kids' fun run. In 2010, more than 30,000 runners participated in four race weekend events organized by 7,500 volunteers, creating Houston's largest single-day sporting event. In addition to hosting numerous world-renowned road races, including the USA Men's and Women's Half Marathon Championships since 2005 and 2007 respectively, and the 1992 U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials, HMC will host the 2012 U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic Team Trials - Marathon on January 14, 2012.

For more information, visit houstonmarathon.com or call 713.957.3453.

Universal Sports Presents LIVE Broadcast and Online Coverage of the 2011 Honda Los Angeles Marathon

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Los Angeles, CA--March 17, 2011--Universal Sports will provide LIVE broadcast and online coverage of the 2011 Honda Los Angeles Marathon. The network's nationwide coverage, excluding Los Angeles, will begin on Sunday, March 20, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The 26th annual race will feature over 20,000 entrants running along the 26.2 mile "Stadium to Sea" course that starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. Runners are competing for the winner's prize of $25,000 in cash and a new Honda Insight EX sedan with navigation, as well as trying to win the unique Marathon Challenge, which rewards the first runner to cross the finish line – man or woman – with a $100,000 bonus.  

For the first time, Southern California-based footwear and apparel maker K-Swiss has teamed up with Universal Sports to be the presenting sponsor of the national telecast. The broadcast team will consist of veteran running analyst Toni Reavis, who has provided commentary for all 25 prior Los Angeles Marathons, and local TV sports news anchor Derrin Horton. Following the live airing, Universal Sports will offer an encore presentation of the marathon at 10:00 p.m. ET. Live race coverage, highlights and news of the event will also be available at the network's website, www.universalsports.com.

Kenyan Wesley Korir, 2009 and 2010 champion, highlights this year's field in the men's competition. Korir will be attempting to achieve his third consecutive victory, which would make him the first ever in L.A. Marathon history to three-peat. He faces tough competition in countryman Benjamin Maiyo, who enters this year's race with a time of 2:07:09, the fastest recorded time of any man in the 2011 field. Maiyo recorded his top time in the 2005 L.A. Marathon, where he finished second.

On the women's side, U.S. All-Americans Amy Hastings and Heather Wood will be making their marathon debuts. They are up against Mare Diaba of Ethiopia, with the fastest time in the 2011 women's field at 2:25:27, and Buzenesh Deba of Ethiopia, whose personal best is 2:27:24.

The Honda Los Angeles Marathon celebrity roster is spotlighted by Chef Gordon Ramsay and musician Flea, who is running for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

Universal Sports will continue its world-class marathon coverage later in 2011 with LIVE coverage of both the Boston and New York City marathons.

ABOUT UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports, a partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, LP, is the premier multi-platform media destination for Olympic-related sports programming in the United States. Universal Sports is available in 52 markets nationwide, including all of the nation's top 10 media markets and 20 of the top 25. Major world championship sports events aired on Universal Sports include track and field, skiing, swimming, gymnastics, marathons, figure skating, cycling and rugby. The network's website, UniversalSports.com, delivers an immersive user experience via live and on-demand competition coverage, interaction with top athletes through interviews and blogs and in-depth access to Olympic sports news and information year-round. For more information, please visit UniversalSports.com.