FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ladies First At The 10th Annual Country Music Marathon
Online Registration Closes Sunday April 19, Expo Registration Available
Nashville, TN – April 15, 2009 – It's ladies first in Nashville with the
women's professional field starting approximately 15 minutes ahead of the
men on Saturday, April 25 at the 10th anniversary of the Country Music
Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. For the first time in its 10 year history, the
2009 race will match the elite women against the elite men in a special
"Battle of the Sexes" format that awards the first runner to cross the
finish line a bonus of $10,000.
"The gender challenge is a unique twist we implemented for the 10th
anniversary of the event," said Adam Zocks, General Manager. "Ideally, with
the lead male runner closing on the lead female runner, it adds a special
touch and provides extra entertainment at the end of the elite race for the
thousands of spectators who come out to watch. I'm certain everyone will
want to see the race to the finish line."
The men's field is lead by Joseph Chirlee, 27, who currently resides in
Georgia, but is originally from Eldoret in Kenya. Chirlee, owner of a
top-5 finish at the 2007 New York City Half Marathon, is better known on
the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series for his unfortunate fall mere steps
before the finish line in 2007 at San Diego. The incident cost Chirlee
third place, but he picked himself up and staggered home for finish in
fourth overall with a time of 2:12:10. The same year he also won the Rocket
City Marathon in Huntsville, Ala.
Alirio Carasco of Colombia has made two Colombian Olympic teams off the
strength of his Country Music performances – 4th in 2000 and 3rd in 2004 –
and owns a PR of 2:12:09 set at the Chicago Marathon in 2003. Abebe Yimer,
two-time winner of the Las Vegas Marathon, and Amos Matui, PR of 2:12:14
set in Brussels in 2004, round out the favorites on the men's side.
The women's field will be highlighted by Anne Jelagat Kibor, of Kenya, who
finished 2nd at the Country Music Marathon in 2006. 2008 Beijing Olympian
Yuliya Arhipova of Kyrgyzstan owns a PR 2:34:10 from Frankfurt in 2007.
Russia's Tatiana Pushkareva finished 4th at the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll San
Antonio with a PR of 2:34:55 and Tigist Abidi, of Ethiopia, has a PR of
2:33:01 set at the Enschede Marathon in Holland.
Other race favorites include American Michelle Suszek, who qualified for
the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the Women's Marathon. Suszek was seeded
135th and finished 60th with a time of 2:45:16, out-running 75 of America's
top distance runners. She has gone on to place in the top-10 women
finishers at every race she's run since the Olympic trials.
The elite women will begin the race first, getting an approximate 15-minute
head start. Once the time gap has passed, the elite men will take off with
the rest of the marathon field and try to chase down the elite women. The
first person to break the finish tape will earn a $10,000 bonus over and
above the first place prizes of $10,000.
The exact time difference will be based on several factors to insure that
both male and female runners receive a fair opportunity to compete in this
special arrangement. These will include time difference between the men's
(2:12:55) and women's (2:28:06) course records, as well as the most recent
performances of the elite athletes in attendance.
The final time differential will be announced, along with the entire
professional field of elite runners, at the athlete press conference on
Thursday, April 23 at 2:00 pm in the clinic location of the Health and
Fitness Expo. The expo is located at the Nashville Convention Center.
Online registration for the Country Music Marathon closes Sunday, April 19.
This is the last opportunity for participants to receive the lower online
registration price of $105 for the marathon and $100 for the half marathon.
"With the new course changes this year, it is still not too late to
register for the half or full marathon races," added Zocks. "In-person
registration for will be available at the race expo on Thursday and Friday.
Adding distance to the course prior to the Belmont neighborhood, will allow
extra space for all participants to run or walk more comfortably from start
Race registration for both events will be available at the Health & Fitness
Expo from 11am - 6pm Thursday, April 23 and 10 am - 7 pm Friday, April 24.
For more information or to register for the Country Music Marathon or 1/2
Marathon, visit www.cmmarathon.com or call (800) 311-1255.