FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2008 AT&T AUSTIN MARATHON DELIVERS SUNNY WEATHER, DRAMATIC FINISH
AUSTIN, Texas – Feb. 18, 2008 – The clear blue skies and near-perfect
temperatures at the 2008 AT&T Austin Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday,
Feb. 17 made this year's race an enjoyable one for the record 11,250
starters and approximately 30,000 spectators.
It was a mild 40 degrees at the start line near Cesar Chavez and Congress
Avenue, providing excellent, cool temperatures for runners. Following an
enthusiastic welcome from Texas Governor Rick Perry – a participant in the
half marathon - runners took off at 7 a.m. as the sun began to rise and a
10-minute fireworks display lit up the sky as they crossed the Congress
The ideal weather conditions were all the more surprising after severe
weather warnings, thunderstorms and a 47-degree high on Saturday. During a
particularly intense downpour on Saturday afternoon, it was hard to foresee
such a favorable turnaround.
Meanwhile, things like bib numbers turned out to be a bit more telling.
Jacob Frey and Mike Sayenko, runners on the United States team
participating in the first International Marathon Challenge, were given bib
numbers one and two, respectively. As it happened, Frey and Sayenko
finished the marathon in places one and two after breaking away in the
final stretch to edge out Kenya's Joseph Mutinda, the third-place finisher.
Trusting their strategy, Frey and Sayenko paced themselves throughout the
race, letting Kenyans Wesley Ochoro and then Joseph Mutinda lead the pack.
Near Mile 19, the Americans began to make their move. By Mile 26, Frey and
Sayenko had taken the lead and sprinted to a thrilling finish down Congress
Avenue just ahead of the Kenyans.
Hugging at the finish line, it was clear the Americans had won the race
together on behalf of their team and their country. As Frey said in an
interview to FOX's Austin affiliate, "There's really no other option than
to run your best when you're wearing red, white and blue."
Frey finished with a time of 2:20:38, Sayenko was close behind at 2:20:42,
followed by Mutinda at 2:20:43.
One the women's side, Lucy Hassell from the Great Britain team won with a
personal best time of 2:36:26. She was all smiles even before crossing the
finish line and seemed to grin as soon as she passed the Capitol on
Congress Avenue and 11th Street.
Hassell was followed by American Becki Michael, who came in at 2:43:42 – a
time that qualified her for the Olympic Trials in Boston. Amazingly, this
was Michael's first time running a marathon.
Close behind Michael was Canada's top female marathoner, Nicole Stevenson
who finished at 2:44:46.
All told, 5,972 runners crossed the finish line in the half-marathon, while
the full marathon had 5,134 finishers. (For complete results, visit
http://www.run-far.com/) Nearly every runner said the Austin race was
something special. From the bands to the charity groups manning each water
stop to the cheering from spectators, everyone had a personal favorite.
Race director John Conley said, "I think this AT&T Austin Marathon will go
down as one of the best marathons in the country in terms of size,
competition and entertainment. The 42 bands on the course inspired people
to make the distance and the incredible International Marathon Challenge
finish on Congress Avenue will inspire people to take the marathon
Marathon winner Jacob Frey, who had run the Austin race once before, said,
"I always love to come back to this city. It's the unique vibe here that
you don't get anywhere else."
Adding to the Austin feel of the race were local charities that
participated in the event's new philanthropy program, 26 Miles for 26
Charities. The nonprofit organizations provided volunteers for the water
stops at each mile, while using the locations to raise awareness for their
cause.Creative themes, costumes, music, signs and more were used to
energize runners and communicate their mission at the same time.
Half-marathon finisher, Rochelle Colquitt of El Paso, Texas said, "The race
went by so fast because there was so much to see. The volunteers were
amazing. They made it so much fun!"