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New Courses Bring Fast Times

Bernard Koech

Bernard Koech

SAN DIEGO, Calif.  – Runners from around the world took over the streets of America’s finest city to enjoy live bands and unmatched fanfare along the new race courses at the 16th Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Sunday morning.
The race not only welcomed a world-class elite field and television celebrities, but the men’s half marathon winner, Bernard Koech of Kenya, ran the fastest half-marathon time ever run in America and the fastest in the world this year to win with a time of 58 minutes, 41 seconds.

Koech also set a pending U.S. all-comers record for 10 miles with an official split time of 44:47, breaking Haile Gebrselassie’s mark of 44:53 from the 2006 P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon. Koech’s winning time will not be officially recognized as a record because of the course’s elevation drop, but the 10 mile mark is record standard according to Doug Thurston, an IAAF/ AIMS Level A measurer.

Employing a fast-from-the-start strategy with a 4:25 opening mile, the 25-year-old Kenyan broke away from Eliud Kipchoge and Stephen Kibet just after mile 5. Koech won the half-marathon, breaking the tape at the finish line outside Petco Park in an incredible 58 minutes, 41 seconds — the fastest time run in the word this year, the fastest half marathon ever run on American soil and the third-fastest time in history.

“I was expecting it to be a fast race,” said Koech, who also won the EDP Half Marathon (59:54) in March and leads the Half Marathon Grand Prix Series. “I am in great shape, and after 10K I realized I was going to run a fast time.”

Kipchoge held on for second in 1:00:18, over a minute up on the third-place finisher, Kibet, who crossed in 61:43. The trio, which made a clear break from the rest of the elite field just after the 2-mile mark.

Two-time defending champion and San Diego native Meb Keflezighi was the top American finisher in fourth place, running 62:11. Keflezighi, who followed Koech, Kipchoge and Kibet through 2 miles before backing off the hot, early pace, was pleased with his performance today.

“I wish I had the opportunity to run this when I was in my prime running 1:01,” said Keflezighi, who was set to make the final walk-through inspection of his new home in San Diego later in the afternoon. “But you know what, I’m still competitive, I still like to be there in the mix and the hometown crowd was phenomenal screaming, ‘Go Meb! Go Meb!’ I love racing in San Diego.”

In the women’s half-marathon, eight participants passed through the 10K mark together and not much changed until the 8-mile mark, when Kenyans Edna Kiplagat and Giorgina Rono, along with Ethiopians Firehiwot Dado and Embet Bedada, made a break. In the final mile Kiplagat pulled ahead to win in 1:08:56, while Rono finished seven seconds behind. Dado, the 2011 New York City Marathon champion, was third in 1:09:46.

“The start was a little bit slow but we picked it up after 10K,” said Kiplagat, who also won the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon in March and took the lead in the Half Marathon Grand Prix Series with her victory today. “At 15K I saw that we could make it under 69 so I pushed it. I feel happy and it’s feels great to win here today and take the lead in the Grand Prix!”

Deena Kastor was the top American — and top Master — in ninth-place, crossing the finish line in 1:15:51. The 40-year-old, who finished to a raucous ovation from the crowd, was clearly disappointed afterward, having fallen off her early pace after 5K.

In the marathon, which started 30 minutes before the half marathon at 6:15 a.m., Kenyan Simon Njoroge lead from start to finish to win in 2:15:00, almost 20 minutes up on second-place finisher Jamey Gifford of Hillsborough, Calif., who crossed in 2:34:40. Tristan Mitchell of Centennial, Colo., was third in 2:39:42.

“I am excited to win,” said the 32-year-old Njoroge, who went through halfway in 1:05:03 but slowed during the course’s hillier second half. “I ran just to win but I am also happy with the time because this course was hard. Really hard.”

Russia’s Natalie Sergeeva, 28, was the runaway winner in the women’s marathon, breaking the tape in 2:3505. Splitting 1:15:49 at halfway, Sergeeva slowed during the second half but ran unchallenged to the tape. San Diego’s Elisa Karhu was second in 2:45:45, while Bonnie Axman finished third in 2:53:14.

The race not only featured separate courses and start times for the marathon and half marathon, but also a new finish line at Petco Park, ideally located downtown. Petco Park marks the fifth finish line in the history of the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, returning to the event’s downtown roots where the road race finished its inaugural year in 1998. The finish line festival took place in tailgate park and runners celebrated the day’s accomplishments with a headlining concert by The Psychedelic Furs inside the stadium.

Among the notable participants running were “Bachelor” star Tenley Molzahn, who completed her first half-marathon with a time of 1:52:21. Danni Allen, winner of the The Biggest Loser Season 14, finshed her second half-marathon with a time of 1:59:42.

Over the 16-year history of the race, runners participating with Team In Training have raised more than $176.4 million in San Diego to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) blood cancer research and patient services. Team In Training runners raised more than $4.5 million through the event this year.

2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and Half-Marathon

San Diego, CA, Sunday, June 2, 2013

Men’s Half Marathon

1. Bernard Koech, 25, Kenya, 58:41, $9,500^
2. Eliud Kipchoge, 28, Kenya, 1:00:18, $2,000
3. Stephen Kibet, 26, Kenya, 1:01:43, $1,500
4. Meb Keflezighi, 38, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:02:11, $1,500*
5. Cuthbert Nyasango, 30, Zimbabwe, 1:03:39, $500

^Includes event and American soil bonus
*Includes U.S. Only Prize Money.

Women’s Half Marathon

1. Edna Kiplagat, 33, Kenya, 1:08:57, $3,500
2. Georgina Rono, 33, Kenya, 1:09:03, $2,000
3. Firehiwot Dado, 29, Ethiopia, 1:09:46, $1,500
4. Embet Bedada, 23, Ethiopia, 1:09:56, $1,000
5. Paskalia Kipkoech, 24, Kenya, 1:10:14, $500

Men’s Marathon

1. Simon Njoroge, 32, Kenya, 2:15:00, $5,000
2. Jamey Gifford, 35, Hillsborough, CA, 2:34:40, $1,750
3. Tristan Mitchell, 27, Centennial, CO, 2:39:29, $1,000
4. Patrick Murphy, 29, Washington, DC, 2:43:46, $500
5. Adam Walton, 30, Shreveport, LA, 2:43:47, $375

Women’s Marathon

1. Natalia Sergeeva, 28, Russia, 2:35:05, $5,000
2. Elisa Karhu, 20, San Diego, CA, 2:45:38, $1,750
3. Bonnie Axman, 28, Apo, AP, 2:53:06, $1,000
4. Kirsten Allan, 22, San Diego, CA, 2:56:39, $500
5. Shannon Bixler, 25, Austin, TX, 2:58:, $375


  1. […] New Courses Bring Fast Times is a post from: USA Marathon […]

  2. […] SAN DIEGO, Calif.  – Runners from around the world took over the streets of America’s finest city to enjoy live bands and unmatched fanfare along the new race courses at the 16th Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Sunday morning. The race not only […] Kenya – USA Marathon […]

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