FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kara Goucher Returns to the Roads at P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
Cox crushes own U.S. 50K record; Meyerhoff wins women's marathon; Forrest
takes first pro race; wheelchair course record smashed; nearly 30,000
participants at 8th edition in the Valley of the Sun
PHOENIX - (January 16, 2011) - It's no secret that Kara Goucher doesn't
like to lose. And that doesn't bode well for her competition at April's
Goucher, 32, returned to road racing at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll
Arizona Half-Marathon Sunday morning, overcoming an adversity-filled week
to finish second in the woman's 13.1-mile race. Despite accomplishing her
goals of shaking off the rust and toeing a start line after more than a
year away from the sport, the 2008 Olympian left the finish line at Arizona
State University with her competitive fire burning a little hotter.
"I don't like to lose and I don't like to not run fast, I'm definitely
ready to get home and work out. It's motivating for sure," said Goucher,
who is ninety-two days away from Marathon Monday in Boston. "I had a great
experience, but it stings a little. I'm not used to...not only losing, but
being so far out of it. I accomplished what I needed to today, but I'm
leaving here hungrier than when I arrived."
The top-ranked U.S. women's marathoner in 2009, Goucher was previously
unbeaten over the half-marathon distance. She finished with an official
time of 1:14:02, with Madai Perez of Mexico winning in 1 hour, 11 minutes,
49 seconds. Perez, who has finished 11th and 15th at recent World
Championship Marathons and placed 19th at the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Marathon, led from the start clocking a 5:12 opening mile.
"I thought I was in shape to run 73 minutes, but I'm fine with the time,"
Goucher added, running 34:40 for the first 10K. "My coach wanted me to run
5:40s through 8 or 9 miles and then pick it up if I could, so I ran 5:40s
but couldn't pick it up and what I had is what I had. I hung steady and I
think I ran a 5:40 pace throughout so he [Alberto Salazar] is happy based
on the workouts I had, and especially after the week that I had."
In the days before the race, it was uncertain if Goucher would even be able
to make it to the start line in Arizona. She spent two mostly sleepless
nights in a Portland hospital earlier in the week with her 16-week-old son,
Colt, who needed fluid drained from an abscess on his jaw caused by an
infection. The emergency impacted not only the final training for her first
race since the 2009 World Championships Marathon, but delayed her travel
plans as well.
"Overall it was nice to be back out there. Last night [Saturday] I forgot
to do a lot of things I used to do by second nature," she added. "It was
overwhelming. It was a hectic week. I didn't get much sleep, not much
Josh Cox, 35, won his second consecutive Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 2:17:32
and then continued on to the Arizona State University track where he
crushed his U.S. record for 50 kilometers by more than 3½ minutes, but just
missed the world mark by 7 seconds. He completed the 50K (31.05 miles) with
an official time of 2 hours, 43 minutes and 45 seconds.
"Seven seconds is hard to swallow," commented Cox (left, PhotoRun),
referring to South African Thompson Magawana's world best of 2:43:38 from
1988. "But I'm happy. The American record is nothing to hang your head
about. I did everything I could to click off those final miles. I'll be
back. I would like to run the world record here in two years. I'd like to
give it another shot ... that ever-elusive world record."
Shawn Forrest of Australia won the men's half-marathon in 1:03:07, 15
seconds ahead of Cox's Mammoth Track Club training partner, Alistair Cragg
"The first mile I just wanted to sit and get into a rhythm and then I
planned to pick it up, depending on how I felt," Forrest said after the
race. "I felt great and went for it. I really wanted to win so I'm happy."
Local resident Sally Meyerhoff of Tempe earned her first marathon victory
in the women's event in 2:37:56. The 2009 USA 25K champion topped a leader
board in which five women qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon
Trials in Houston.
"I feel so awesome," said Meyerhoff, who last finished fifth at the event
in 2009. "I've wanted to win this race for the past three years. It was my
first marathon in 2008 and to come back in my third try to win is
Scott Parsons of San Jose, Calif. took the men's wheelchair title, smashing
the course record by more than five minutes. Parsons finished with an
official time of 1:39:55.
While most of the eastern seaboard shoveled snow, nearly 30,000 entrants
from all 50 states and 23 countries were greeted by 70 degree sunshine for
the 8th annual road race that begins in downtown Phoenix, runs through
Scottsdale and finishes adjacent to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
Notable half-marathon participants included Ali Vincent, winner of the
fifth season of NBC's "The Biggest Loser", Jeff McMahon, keyboardist for
Tim McGraw's band The Dancehall Doctors and Michellie Jones, 2006 Ironman
champion, who at age 41 came through the finish line as the top Master in
9th place overall in 1:22:41.
8th P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon
Phoenix, AZ, Sunday, January 16, 2011
1) Josh Cox (CA), 2:17:32*
2) Solomon Kandie (KEN), 2:18:40
3) Roosevelt Cook (CA), 2:25:24
4) Allen Wagner (NM), 2:26:53
5) Frank Therrian (AZ), 2:28:16
*post-marathon, set pending U.S. 50K record of 2:43:45 (previous record,
2:47:17, Josh Cox (CA), P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona, 01/18/09)
1) Sally Meyerhoff (AZ), 2:37:56
2) Gina Slaby (AZ), 2:42:21
3) Liana Bernard (OR), 2:42:28
4) Jennifer Santa Maria (CA), 2:44:39
5) Ariana Hillborn (AZ), 2:45:37
8th P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona ½ Marathon
1) Shawn Forrest (AUS), 1:03:07
2) Alistair Cragg (IRL), 1:03:22
3) Joseph Chirlee (CO), 1:05:00
4) Mike Aish (CO), 1:05:18
5) Bret Schoolmeester (OR), 1:05:38
1) Madai Perez (MEX), 1:11:49
2) Kara Goucher (OR), 1:14:02
3) Emily Kroshus (CAN), 1:15:18
4) Wendy Thomas (CO), 1:17:11
5) Nicole Aish (CO), 1:19:00
For complete results, photos and more, go to: Competitor.com