FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tragedy Mars the Running of Sixth Annual Little Rock Marathon
An Ethiopian Native and a Kenyan Native Win Little Rock Marathon
LITTLE ROCK, AR - "The members of the Little Rock Marathon Committee would
like to offer our condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Adam
Nickel, 27, of Madison, Wisconsin, the runner who died following his
completion of today's Little Rock Marathon" said race director, Gina
Marchese-Pharis. "After collapsing at the finish line, the medical team
addressed the needs of the runner, and he was then transported to UAMS for
continuing treatment" said Marchese-Pharis. "In addition, it is the policy
of the medical staff who donate their time, talent and resources, to meet
all of the needs and emergencies of those that attend and participate in
this annual event."
Tamrat Ayalew, a native of Ethiopia, who now lives in Marietta, Georgia,
and Hellen Rotich, a native of Kenya who now lives in Austin, Texas, won
the men's and women's categories of the sixth annual Little Rock Marathon
held today in Little Rock, Arkansas. The sixth annual event featured a new
course, a more than $20,000 cash purse for the top winners and Little
Rock's first bare foot runner in the 5K race. The Little Rock Marathon
also holds bragging rights for the world's largest finisher's medal
according to Runners Word Magazine, which measures 6 1/4" x 4 1/2".
Ayalew, 33, posted a time of 2:24:46. This was his seventh marathon and
fourth win. He found the Little Rock Marathon course very challenging and
had not expected it to be so hilly. His best marathon time was 2:12:00
however; he was very happy with his performance and knew that he had it won
at mile 24. Says Ayalew, "All he can think about now is running the Boston
Marathon in April." Rotich, 28, was running her second marathon and takes
home a second 1st place title with a time of 2:50:33. She previously won
the San Antonio Marathon in 2007 and is a graduate of Harding University in
2005. She stated that she was so happy to have won the Little Rock
Marathon and that it was like coming home. Rotich may run the Maui
marathon in September but doesn't feel that she is ready for Boston. She
thanks God for her strength and stated that at mile 18 she looked up and
said, "Let me go for it." Ayalew's and Rotich's times were the first for
this year's course, which was altered to accommodate a growing number of
The Little Rock Marathon awarded a purse worth more than $20,000 in cash
and prizes to top finishers in male and female divisions of the marathon,
half marathon, master's marathon and master's half marathon. First place in
the marathon received $2,000 each, second place received $1,500 each, third
place received $1,000 each, fourth place received $750 each and fifth place
received $500 each.
In the half marathon, first place received $750 each, second place received
$500 each and third place received $250 each. In the master's marathon (age
40 and older), first place received $500 each, second place received $250
each and third place received $100 each. In the master's half marathon,
first places received $250 each, second place received $200 each and third
place received $100 each.
Rounding out the top five in the Men's division of the marathon were (2)
William Serem with a time of 2:25:08, (3) Richard Kandie with a time of
2:29:07, (4) Gilbert Kiptoo with a time of 2:29:26 and (5) Krzysztof
Balbyga with a time of 2:32:34.
Rounding out the top five in the Women's division of the marathon were (2)
Leah Thorvilson with a time of 2:52:29, (3) Melissa Gillette with a time of
3:08:57, (4) Bethany Walker with a time of 3:14:02 and (5) Debbie Cropper
with a time of 3:16:14.
Richard Vaughn won the marathon wheelchair division with a time of 4:36:31
followed by (2) Asish Bahakta with a time of 4:56:05.
In the men's marathon masters division Titus Mutinda placed first with a
time of 2:33:43 followed by (2) Daniel Hay with a time of 2:52:52 and (3)
Jim George with a time of 2:59:52. In the women's marathon masters
division Kris Huff placed first with a time of 3:20:54 followed by (2) Jill
Sandoval with a time of 3:30:29 and (3) Danna Middleton with a time of
In the men's division of the half marathon Ezkyas Sisay placed first with a
time of 1:07:24, followed by (2) Sammy Kiplagat with a time of 1:07:25 and
(3) Raphael Kuto with a time of 1:07:31. In the women's half marathon
division Whitney Kerth placed first with a time of 1:23:31 followed by (2)
Joy Johnson with a time of 1:30:23, and (3) Peggy Panzer with a time of
In the 5K men's division, the winner was Aaron Armstrong with a time of
18:34, (2) Peter Zaragari with a time of 18:48, and (3) Wil Norris with a
time of 19:16. In the women's division of the 5K Haley Filat placed first
with a time of 23:20, followed by (2) Ann Works with a time of 24:00, and
(3) Joan Brucha with a time of 24:16.
The seventh annual Little Rock Marathon is set for March 15, 2009. For more
information go to Little Rock Marathon.