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Kellum, Riativa Win Country Music Marathon Titles

Kellum, Riativa Capture Country Music Marathon Crowns

Nashville Country Music Marathon

Nashville Country Music Marathon

Maag, Horst half-marathon titlists; country stars, celebrities, 30,000 participate in Nashville’s running celebration at 12th edition By Amana Miyamae, Competitor Group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (April 30, 2011) – On a cool Saturday morning that grew into a sunny Nashville afternoon, more than 30,000 runners toed the start line for the 12th Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by Nissan.

American Idol star Danny Gokey kicked off the event by performing the national anthem for thousands of spectators and inspiring the runners moments before the starting gun. The Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams, Survivor “Gabon” contestant Marcus Lehman and country music star Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio all participated in the half-marathon. Great American Country host Suzanne Alexander also completed the 13.1-mile distance.

The men’s marathon race was dominated by two international elite competitors. David Kellum, 28, of Kenya was a last minute addition to the race, and trailed Colombian Edwin Romero for the first 10 miles before taking the lead as he never looked back, winning with a personal record time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 41 seconds.

“I’m very glad to PR, the weather was good and I liked the course. I was a little worried for the first few miles, because I could see Romero ahead of me and had to work hard to catch up,” said Kellum, who resides in Kennesaw, GA. “But I felt strong and am happy to come away with a win. I’m ready to come back next year and improve my time again.”

The women’s race produced closer finish, as Ruby Milena Riativa of Colombia and Nashville local Laura Portis came down the final stretch just one minute apart. Riativa would take first place, in 2:50:00, followed by Portis in 2:51:24. For Portis, who recently qualified for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, the race was a successful return to Music City where she placed 9th overall last year.

“The heat kind of got to me, but it was a fun course with lots of energy,” she said. “The new course is great and it was nice to run through East Nashville.”

In the half-marathon, 23-year-old Michael Maag of Brooklyn, NY took an early lead and held strong, clocking 1:08:25. It was a great day for Maag, who took first place in his debut over the 13.1-mile distance.

The half-marathon winner’s podium was a familiar spot for past race champion Jill Horst of Georgia, who won in 1:20:45. The 32-year-old Horst beat her previous first place time of 1:21:32 from 2008.

“I felt really good,” she said. “I like it warm, so this was perfect weather for me. The course seemed a lot different and a little hillier, but miles 9 through 12 were really fast. It was pretty tough.”

In its 12th year, the Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by Nissan debuted a redesigned course and new finish line on the north end of LP Field. Starting in scenic Centennial Park, the course winded through Nashville’s most historic sites like the Parthenon, world-renowned Music Row and historic Lower Broadway before an expansive finish line festival and concert featuring Biggest Loser star turned country star Dan Evans.

Country legends Montgomery Gentry took the stage at Bridgestone Arena for a post-race concert Saturday evening.

The Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by Nissan returns to Nashville on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

12th Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon
Nashville, TN, Saturday, April 30, 2011

MEN
1) David Kellum (KEN), 2:17:41
2) Scott Wietecha (USA / TN), 2:24:10
3) Edwin Romero (COL), 2:25:16

WOMEN
1) Ruby Milena Riativa (COL), 2:50:00
2) Laura Portis (USA / TN), 2:51:24
3) Marnie Staehly (USA / TN), 2:58:53

10th Country Music ½ Marathon

MEN
1) Michael Maag (NY), 1:08:25
2) Josh Yelsey (IL), 1:13:34
3) Brandon Gillingham (PA), 1:13:52

WOMEN
1) Jill Horst (GA), 1:20:45
2) Alexa Hinton (TN), 1:22:32
3) Samantha Mazer (TN), 1:23:54

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