FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HESCH READY TO DEFEND OC MARATHON CROWN
INTERNATIONAL FIELD SET FOR SUNDAY'S RACING EXTRAVAGANZA
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF. – With the turn of the calendar to 2008, Orange
Countians and the entire Southern California region welcome not only the
start of the New Year but the Fourth Annual Avia OC Marathon Presented by
This Sunday, January 6, more than 13,000 runners are expected to take part
in one of four different races that make up the marathon extravaganza. The
marathon and half-marathon will start at 7:30 a.m. near Fashion Island in
Newport Beach. The 5K will start at 8 a.m., followed by the Kids Run.
Both of those races start near the Irvine Spectrum in Irvine, and all races
end near the Irvine Spectrum, where a festival atmosphere will greet the
runners and fans.
Christian Hesch, 28, of Morro Bay, Calif., outdistanced the marathon field
last year to take top honors in a course record 2:21:18. He was followed
by Ibrahim Limo of Kenya and Krzysztof Baldyga of the Ukraine.
Hesch will have to fend off some elite international runners, including
Simon Sawe of Kenya, who posted a 2:14:07 at the 2006 U.S. Marathon
Championships, good enough for second place, while his countryman Charles
Kiplagat clocked a 2:21:47 at the 2007 Denver Marathon for second place.
Kassahun Kabiso of Ethiopia has a couple of marathon victories on his
resume with wins at the Vancouver Marathon in 2006 (2:18:29) and Memphis
Marathon (2:16:48), as well as a second-place showing at the 2006 Cal
International Marathon (2:14:58). Fellow Ethiopian Deresse Deniboba had a
win in 2007 at the Yonkers Marathon (2:30:33) and a second-place finish in
2006 at the Palm Beach Marathon (2:28:58). Swedish ace Kristoffer
Osterlund finished second in the 2007 Swedish Marathon Championships with a
time of 2:29:38.
"The field is stacked from what I can tell," Hesch said. "I'll have the
same strategy as last year. I'll go out hard, and my goal is to get to 20
miles as fast as possible and then cruise it in from there. That's the
best case scenario."
On the women's side, Rebecca Tallam is one of the headliners, stepping up
to the marathon in 2008 after a third place finish in last year's
Half-Marathon in Orange County. The 30-year-old Kenyan finished fifth at
AT&T Austin Marathon, turning a 2:47:12. Also joining the marathon field
is Claudia Colita and Larisa Mikhaylova, both from Russia and 2:40:00
The prize money breakdown for the top three male and female finishers is:
$2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place.
A monetary prize is also available for places four through eight, starting
at $500 and going down in $100 increments, as long as the male athlete runs
a sub-2:40:00 and the female competitor runs a sub-3:00:00. In addition, a
split bonus is available at the 21-mile mark, the highest elevation point
on the course. A male or female runner reaching the 21-mile mark under the
specified time – 1:51:00 for the men and 2:05:00 for the women – will
receive a bonus of $1,000 if the athlete finishes the race in the Top 10.
An additional "time bonus" is also available:
Men – sub-2:18:00 Female – sub-2:36:00
Men – sub-2:19:00 Female – sub-2:39:00
Men – sub-2:20:00 Female – sub-2:42:00
Men – sub-2:22:00 Female – sub-2:47:00
(Only the highest bonus will be awarded)
Last chance registration for the marathon and half-marathon can be done at
the OC Marathon Health and Fitness Expo on Friday, January 4 (4 - 8 p.m.)
and Saturday, January 5 (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine
(17900 Jamboree Road). For the 5K and Kids Run, registration is available
at the Health and Fitness Expo and on race day at the starting area near
the Irvine Spectrum.