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Alemayehu, Vinitskaya Dominate ING Miami Marathon

Tesfaye Alemayehu Miami 2011

Tesfaye Alemayehu Miami 2011

MIAMI – (January 30, 2011) – Eithiopian Tesfaye Alemayehu crushed his competition by more than five minutes in recording his first career marathon win at the 9th ING Miami Marathon on Sunday morning.

Alemayehu finished in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 57 seconds, just 35 seconds off the course record, with 2009 race champion Benazzouz Slimani runner-up in 2:18:23 and 2010 race champion Michael Wardian of Arlington, Va. third in 2:23:41.

Alena Vinitskaya of Belarus battled flu-like symptoms to win the women’s ING Miami Marathon title in 2:44:39, nearly five minutes ahead of Fort Lauderdale resident Stacie Alboucrek (2:49:03) and third place finisher Tezata Dengersa of Ethiopia (2:49:30).

The 21,116 registered runners from 79 countries and all 50 states took to the streets of Greater Miami at 6:20am on a clear, 54-degree morning. The USATF-certified course and Boston qualifier started at American Airlines Arena, traveled over the cruise ship-lined McArthur Causeway to South Beach, and then wound its way through several prominent Miami communities and the Brickell Avenue business district before finishing at Bayfront Park.

The 25-year-old Alemayehu went out of the starting gate so fast that Slimani and Wardian thought they were running 1-2 for much of the race.

“I came here to win,” said Alemayehu. “I ran with the half-marathoners. I kept a very good pace. I trained hard.”

“The other guy was so far ahead of us I thought I was second,” added Wardian. “They were telling me I was third, but I figured it was just someone who didn’t know what they were talking about.”

Slimani and Wardian ran with each other for much of the race, and it wasn’t until the 23-mile mark that the pair realized that they weren’t the leaders.

“I love Miami,” said the 5-foot-8, 123-pound Alemayehu who has been living and training in Antioch, Calif. “They encouraged me very much. I would like to thank the people of Miami.”

After finishing second in 2003 and 2010, Vinitskaya, a 37-year old mother of two, had a brief thought of quitting the race at the four-minute mark.

“I was feeling really ill,” she said. “I was having a hard time breathing, but I kept going because my legs felt good. I ran slowly from that point.”

Still, she finished nearly five minutes in front of Alboucrek, the 2004 Miami Marathon champion and the 2005 third place finisher.

Alboucrek, who had a child in 2007 and started her comeback with a Fort Lauderdale 13.1 win in November, felt a twinge in her left hamstring at mile 23. “It was a great day till 23!” she said. “Mentally I was the strongest I’ve ever been. I said ‘I am not pulling off this course!'”

A pair of Ethiopians also won the ING Miami Half Marathon, with 24-year-old Kumsa Adugna (1:07:04) winning the overall race, while 25-year-old Aziza Aliyu (1:15:06) was the first woman to cross the finish line.

Sunday’s ING Miami Marathon was a boon to the Miami area, where 67% of the runners came from outside Miami Dade County. Past events have contributed more than $33 million to the Greater Miami economy, according to a study conducted by Temple University last year.

“It was a great day for a race and we’re thrilled to be here celebrating this beautiful city with all 21,000 runners,” said Ann Glover, chief marketing officer of ING. “We love the community and love the welcome we receive.”

9th ING Miami Marathon
Miami, FL, Sunday, January 30, 2011

1) Tesfaye Alemayehu (ETH), 2:12:57, $2000
2) Benazzouz Slimani (ITA), 2:18:23, $1000
3) Michael Wardian (USA / VA), 2:23:41, $500

1) Alena Vinitskaya (BLR), 2:44:39, $2000
2) Stacie Alboucrek, 43, USA / FL, 2:49:03, $1000
3) Tezata Dengeresa (ETH), 2:49:30, $500

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