FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kenya and Russia Claim top Marks at Country Music Marathon
NASHVILLE, Tenn., (April 26, 2008) – Kenya's Sylvester Chebii, 26, won the
ninth annual Country Music Marathon today in a time of 2 hours, 14 minutes,
27 seconds. In the women's race, Svetlana Ponomarenko, 38, from Russia
outkicked defending champion Olena Shurkhno, 30, from the Ukraine,
finishing in 2:30:33.
The rain, which dampened the pre-race morning, broke before the start gun
fired to begin today's race, yielding cool running temperatures for more
than 30,000 runners and walkers.
A pack of ten elite men were first out on the 26.2-mile course today.
Russian Mikhail Khobotov, 35, attempted to push the pace after the 10k
mark, but the men appeared content to preserve a conservative pace. At the
half-marathon mark the men were on a 2:17:00 marathon pace. Augustus
Kavutu, 31, of Kenya placed the first surge into the race after mile 14 as
the pack ran along the banks of the Cumberland River, dropping Sergey
Yemilanov from Russia and Ethiopia's Abebe Yimer.
The second surge came on the approach to mile 17 lead by Chebii and
countryman Christopher Torotich, 27. The lead pack, which included
26-year-old Ketema Nigusse of Ethiopia and Kenyan Meshack Kosgei, 33,
dropped the remaining men as the group ran the fastest mile of the race
(4:53) through mile 19.
As the men exited Shelby Park towards the finish, outside LP Field, Nigusse
faded and Chebii was mounting his final attack on his opponents.
"It was a tough race, but I felt confident I could win in the final miles,"
Ponomarenko's steady pace decimated her counterparts in the women's race
from the first 5k to the finish line. By the 10k mark she controlled an 18
second lead. By the half-marathon, she was leading by more than a minute
and once she broke the finish line tape, she was more than three minutes
ahead of her closest competitor Shurkhno.
"It was a perfect day and I really took advantage of it," said Ponomarenko
through her interpreter and agent, Anbrey Baranov.
Ponomarenko ran unchallenged by her competitors and unchallenged by the
course averaging a 5:40 per mile pace along her winning tour of Nashville.
Country Music Marathon Results Final Prize Money Breakdown
Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time, Prize Money
1. Sylvester Chebii, 26, Kenya, 2:14:27, $17,500
2. Meshack Kosgei, 33, Marietta, GA (US), 2:14:55, $8,000
3. Christopher Torotich, 27, Kenya, 2:15:18, $4,000
4. Ketema Nigusse, 26, Ethiopia, 2:16:15, $2,000
5. Benjamin Itok, 36, Kenya, 2:18:16, $1,250
1. Svetlana Ponomarenko, 38, Russia, 2:30:33, $17,500
2. Olena Shurkhno, 30, Ukraine, 2:33:37, $8,000
3. Anzhelika Averkova, 30, Ukraine, 2:35:36, $4,000
4. Sharon Cherop, 23, Kenya, 2:39:52 $2,000
5. Albina Gallyamova, 43, Russia, 2:40:23, $1,250
Local Men – Davidson County
1. David Silvestri, 22, Nashville, 2:54:07, $1,000
2. Wim Codington, 25, Nashville, 2:54:19, $500
Local Men – State of Tennessee
1. Phil Young, 45, Murfreesboro, 2:48:08, $1,000
2. John Lovell, 50, Brentwood, 2:49:56, $500
Local Woman – Davidson County
1. Maureen Manning, 40, Brentwood, 3:09:43, $1,000
2. Emily Ryan, 30, Nashville, 3:17:01, $500
Local Woman – State of Tennessee
1. Andee Cranford, 30, Mount Juliet, 3:04:26, $1,000
2. Maureen Manning, 40, Brentwood, 3:09:43, $500
Men's Masters (40+)
1. Mark Green, 40, Canton, CT (US), 2:45:52, $500
Woman's Masters (40+)
1. Albina Gallyamova, 43, Russia, 2:40:23