FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Zealand's Aish and Ethiopian Zekerios Win
Fifth Annual P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon
Running Down a Dream: Seven women qualify for the
U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women's Marathon
TEMPE, Ariz., (Jan. 13, 2008) – New Zealand's Michael Aish ran to his first
career marathon victory Sunday at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes 20 seconds. Returning women's
champion, Adenech Zekirios from Ethiopia, broke the course record of
2:31:33 in her repeat victory, finishing in 2:31:14. Also in the women's
race, seven American women qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
– Women's Marathon.
The 31-year-old Aish looked comfortable and composed in his second marathon
appearance as he ran a strong race against his African counterparts.
"Sometimes when you're feeling good and out in front, nothing can stop
you," said Aish. "This is the highlight of my running career."
The New Zelander battled Dejene Yirdawe, 29, from Ethiopia over the last
half of the course. The two men separated themselves from a field of seven
as they set a 4:58 per mile pace through mile 22.
In the end, it was Aish's persistance that gave him the upper hand as
Yirdawe broke in the final two miles.
Zekiros, 25, bested countrywomen Salomie Getnet (2:34:01) and Asnakech
Mengistu (2:36:18), who finished second and third respectively.
The three Ethiopians ran together through the half-marathon mark, until
Zekerios emerged from mile 14 in control of the lead, having recorded a
5:25 mile. She continued on a 2:28 marathon pace, which would have
shattered the course record, before she began to slow in the last four
Victory in hand, Zekerios, lowered the course record by 19 seconds as she
broke the finish line tape.
Finishing fourth in a time of 2:41:04, Linda Somers Smith, 46, was the
first of seven American women to qualify for this year's U.S. Olympic Team
Trials – Women's Marathon in the day's race. Having achieved the Olympic
"B" standard by running under 2:47:00, these women will now move on to the
Olympic Trials in Boston on April 20, the day before the Boston Marathon.
Trials qualifiers from the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon
include: Somers Smith from Arroyo Grande, Calif., Sally Meyerhoff from
Tempe, Ariz., Kristen Henehan from Silver Springs, Md., Allison Kerr from
Vacaville, Calif., Betsey Keever from San Francisco, Michele Suszek from
Aurora, Co. and Lisa Thomas from Alexandria, Va.
Each of the trials qualifiers will receive $500 in addition to any top 10
Phoenix resident Susan Loken finished seventh in a time of 2:44:24. Having
already achieved the Olympic "B" standard earlier this year, Loken had
hoped to earn the "A" standard by running under 2:39:00.
Tyler Byers, 25, from Sterling, Va., won the wheelchair division in a time
Through an invitational program titled "Running Down a Dream," 39 women
from 19 states were hosted by the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
Marathon in their quest to join the U.S. Olympic Team.
Austin Bailey, 25, from Boulder, Co. finished first among the men in the
half marathon, and Bridget Duffy, 23, from Berkeley, Calif. was the first
woman. Bailey finished in 1:07:12 and Duffy finished in 1:21:46.
Saturn SKY to Leads the Race
The Saturn SKY is the official vehicle of the 2008 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n'
Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon and led the professional athletes as
they raced for victory. To discover Saturn, please visit your local Saturn
retailer or www.Saturn.com