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Sisay, Lewy Boulet Win Big Sur Half

Ezkyas Sisay

Ezkyas Sisay

MONTEREY, Calif. – (November 20, 2011) – One of the strongest fields of elite runners ever assembled for a half-marathon in the Western U.S. faced off Sunday morning in an exciting match-up at the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. Ethiopian Ezkyas Sisay sprinted ahead of runner-up Josphat Boit (Kenya) to win by two seconds at 1 hour, 3 minutes, 48 seconds. Fellow Kenyan Benson Cheruiyot was a close third at 1:03:53.

The women’s race, which featured three 2008 Olympic marathoners, was won by Magdalena Lewy Boulet of Oakland, CA, who passed Beijing teammate Blake Russell at mile 12 for the win at 1:14:16.

Though rain was expected for the ninth presentation of the event, the skies were clear for most of the morning, making for a beautiful coastal event for nearly 6,200 runners.

“We had perfect running conditions,” stated race director Wally Kastner.

The men’s race began with a tight pack of 10 runners consisting of Mario Macias, 4th place at the 2010 Big Sur Half, in the lead, along with Christian Hesch of Hollywood, CA and Aziz Atmani (MAR) of Indianapolis, IN. By mile three, the group had divided into two packs with Macias, Cheruiyot, Boit, Ian Burrell and Gishu Dida in the forefront. Sisay worked his way into the lead pack by mile five, and at mile 10 pushed into the lead with only Boit and Cheruiyot nearby.

Sisay, 23, who grew up running in Ethiopia and now trains in the elevation of Flagstaff, Arizona, produced a furious kick 200 yards from the finish line to win the race. Boit finished just two seconds later and Cheruiyot five seconds later.

“I’m so happy. This is my dream race. I love the course and I love the city of Monterey,” said Sisay, who recently won the Edmonton Half Marathon and finished 9th at the ING New York City Marathon just two weeks ago at 2:11:04. He earned $3000 for his first place win, part of the guaranteed $18,000 prize purse offered to the top eight male and female runners and the top three male and female Masters. The purse is the largest ever offered for a half-marathon in California this year.

In the women’s competition, local Pacific Grove celebrity Blake Russell, 36, held the lead position for most of the race. Around the 10-mile mark, however, Lewy Boulet, 38, found some extra giddy-up. At the same time, it was Russell’s turn to feel the effects of her marathon training. With just a mile to go, Lewy Boulet overcame her comrade and held on for the victory.

Jeannette Fabor, 29, of Portland, OR ran a 5:46 pace to finished third at 1:15:27 and Tonya Nero of Trinidad finished fourth (1:15:46).

In the Masters division (40 and older), Hermann Achmuller, 40, of Italy won the men’s race, clocking 1:11:59, while Lisa Harvey, 41, the Canadian 1992 Olympian at 10,000 meters took first in the women’s division in 1:19:58. Harvey earned $500 for her Masters win and another $250 for the top Canadian female, a prize awarded from Canada’s IMPACT magazine.

The Tenth Presentation of the Big Sur Half Marathon will be held on November 18, 2012. Registration opens April 1.

9th Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay
Monterey, CA, Sunday, November 20, 2011

1) Ezkyas Sisay (ETH), 1:03:48, $3000
2) Josphat Boit (KEN), 1:03:50, $1800
3) Benson Cheruiyot (KEN), 1:03:53, $1200
4) Ian Burrell (USA / AZ), 1:04:10, $900
5) Mario Macias (MEX), 1:04:30, $600
6) Christian Hesch (USA / CA), 1:05:55, $300
7) Michael Aish (USA / CO), 1:05:59, $150
8) Fred Tumbo (KEN), 1:07:01, $75
9) Crosby Freeman (USA / CA), 1:07:22
10) Gishu Dida (ETH), 1:08:43

1) Hermann Achmuller, 40, ITA, 1:11:59, $500
2) Tony Torres, 42, CA, 1:12:42, $300
3) Todd Booth, 42, CA, 1:13:59, $100

1) Magdalena Lewy Boulet (CA), 1:14:16, $3000
2) Blake Russell (CA), 1:14:35, $1800
3) Jeannette Faber (OR), 1:15:27, $1200
4) Tonya Nero (TRI), 1:15:46, $900
5) Kelly Calway (CO), 1:16:01, $600
6) Nicole Aish (CO), 1:16:22, $300
7) Ariana Hilborn (AZ), 1:16:27, $150
8) Brooke Wells (CA), 1:16:40, $75
9) Zoila Gomez (CO), 1:19:08
10) Julia Stamps Mallon (CA), 1:19:16

1) Lisa Harvey, 41, CAN, 1:19:58, $500
2) Mary Coordt, 42, USA / CA, 1:21:11, $300
3) Jamie-Lynn Olsson, 48, CAN, 1:29:51, $100