FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deena Kastor Kicks of 2010 in Style at P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
American Record Holder Leads Eight U.S. Women into Olympic Trails
Three Course Records Broken, 148 Runners Complete
Inaugural Rock 'n' Rock Ultra
Phoenix, AZ – January 17, 2010 – American record holder and Olympic Bronze
medalist Deena Kastor returned to the winner's circle for the first time in
ten months today at the seventh annual P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
Half Marathon. Kastor set a new Arizona state record with a time of
1:09:43, ending the longest dry spell of her now-legendary career.
"This race solidifies that my training has been going well," said Kastor,
after her victory that smashed the 15-year-old state record of 1:13:39 set
by Marie Boyd in Tucson. "Running sub 1:10 off this training makes me
excited about my next phase going into the London Marathon in April. Today
was the first time in a couple of years I felt like my old self running
Kastor, who broke her foot during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon and
spent most of 2009 recovering, ran an aggressive first mile in 4:54 and was
on American record pace through four miles before a stubborn headwind and
lack of competition slowed her in the second half. Reigning American
marathon champion Ilsa Paulson of New York City finished a disappointing
second in 1:17:04, well off her 1:13:20 personal best.
"I knew it could go only two ways, really good or really bad," said
Paulson. "I've been doing a lot of miles for many months, but the speed is
just not there yet, it's the last thing to come. I felt like I could run a
5:45 pace forever, but when I had to try to run a 5:20 pace to stick with
Deena for the first two miles it just fried my legs."
In the men's half marathon, American record holder Ryan Hall was upset by
Simon Bairu, the 2009 Canadian national champion at 5000 meters on the
track and 10k on the roads. Running in only his second career half
marathon, Bairu shadowed the more experienced Hall throughout the race. As
the route turned right onto Desert Drive at 10 miles, the 26 year-old Bairu
dropped the hammer with a 4:42 11th mile that left Hall 26 seconds behind
his wake. By the time he reached the finish line at Arizona State
University, Bairu's lead had swelled to 1:21. His winning time of 1:02:47
was a 23 second personal best.
"My coach (Jerry Schumacher) told me to make this a ten mile race and, no
disrespect to Ryan, but if we didn't win it would have been a
disappointment," said Bairu, who bettered the late Ryan Shay's course
record by almost 2 minutes. "We knew Ryan would throw everything he had at
me, but if I could weather the early storm, I felt that I would have the
mental edge in the final miles. He is a world class athlete and I could
never count him out."
A two-time NCAA cross country champion while attending the University of
Wisconsin, Bairu's win makes him a hot commodity on the racing tour. He
has his sights set on a debut marathon this fall. Hall, who is signed up
for this April's Boston Marathon, took a philosophical approach to his rare
"The goal was to go out fast and practice for the pace I'll need to run
later this season," said Hall, who passed the 2 mile mark in 9 minuets
flat, sub 59:00 half marathon pace. "Boston is the big picture, so this
was a test to see where I am and I still have New Orleans to go before
Hall, the American record holder in the half marathon, is scheduled to run
the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon in six weeks for his
final tune up before the Boston Marathon, where he took third place in
In the men's marathon, Ethiopia's Terfe Yea notched his second P.F. Chang's
title, adding the 2010 crown to his '07 victory. Yea finished in 2:12:41,
15 seconds ahead of Kenya's Christopher Kipyego (2:12:56). Flagstaff
Arizona's Jeff Eggleston made a successful marathon debut running 2:14:32,
good for sixth place as the top American. Eggleston's performance qualified
him for the US Olympic Marathon Trials.
In the women's race, fellow Ethiopian Taybe Naser set a course record in
her marathon debut with a time of 2:30:39. Arizona's Alvina Begay was the
top American in 2:27:14, good enough for fifth place overall. Begay, who
trains with the McMillan Elite in Flagstaff, bettered her personal best by
over five minutes and was one of eight Americans in the marathon who
qualified for the Olympic Trials.
Both Yea, 29, and Naser, 23, earned $17,500 for their victory at the race,
which attracted more then 32,000 entrants and had live bands, cheerleaders
and themed water stations entertaining runners along each mile of the
"The Rock 'n' Roll races are always so much fun and this event embodies a
celebration of fitness and running," added Kastor. "There are thousands of
people here that are so enthusiastic and really put it out on the line
today; it was an incredible weekend to be a part of."
The event began at 6:30 am with the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Ultra, a
special 50k competition hosted by Dean Karnazes. Senator John McCain
started the gun for both the marathon and half marathon.
"The event exceeded my wildest expectations and I think it exceeded
everyone's expectations," said Karnazes, who was one of 148 runners to
complete the 50k (31.05 miles). "I was rapping out for the first 22 miles
with a big group and several of the ultra runners' spouses had pizzas
waiting out on the course. I had a delicious slice at about the halfway
"Today was an historic day for Ultra running," said Tracy Sundlan,
Vice-President of Events for the Competitor Group. "All of us, including
Dean, were surprised how quickly the race sold out. We looked at the event
as a grand experiment and there is no doubt it was a roaring success."
The eighth edition of the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and
Half Marathon is set for Sunday, January 16, 2011.