FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Olympian Dan Browne Headlines the 2009 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Field
Four Past Champions Return to Final Marathon
Finish at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot
San Diego, CA – May 28, 2009 – For it's last year finishing at the Marine
Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), the 2009 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon will feature
one of the most exciting professional fields in the history of the event.
Headlining this year's elite field is American Dan Browne, who recently
moved to Chula Vista, Calif. Browne won his third U.S. 25-kilometer
championship earlier this month and will lead the U.S. men's marathon team
at the 12th IAAF World Championships on Saturday, August 22 in Berlin.
"I'm excited to be running the Rock 'n' Roll this year," said Browne, who
represented the U.S. in both the marathon and 10,000m at the 2004 Olympics
in Athens. "I've heard it's a great event and a lot of fun. I'm ready to
Browne owns a marathon PR of 2:11:35 from a victory at the 2002 Twin Cities
Marathon and has represented team USA four times at the World Cross Country
Championships. He finished sixth in the U.S. Olympic Trials in November of
2007 and has an impressive 16 national titles to his name.
The strongest competition for Browne should, most likely, come from Kenya's
Samuel Mugo, 23, who has won his last two marathons and also improved his
PR on both occasions. Mugo won the Porto Marathon in Portugal last year
running 2:11:08 and earlier this year posted an impressive 2:08:51 winning
the Xiamen International Marathon (China) in January.
To some though, the favorite should be 29-year-old Ethiopian Dejene Berhanu
who won the local Carlsbad 5000, recognized as the world's premier race for
the distance, in 2004 and 2005 as well as finishing 5th in the 5000m at the
Athens Olympics. Berhanu ran 2:08:46 in his debut marathon in 2006 and won
the 2004 Great North Run in 59:37 for the half marathon, which was at the
time the national record.
Browne, Mugo and Berhanu are expected to be joined in the lead pack by a
trio of Ethiopians, including 2000 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Tesfaye
Tola. Tola owns the fastest PR in the field at 2:06:57. Abiyote Guta set
his PR of 2:10:38 five years ago when he was just 19 years old. He ran in
Otsu, Japan earlier this year where he posted a time of 2:11:18 Tekeste
Nekatibebe has a PR of 2:12:00, which he set last year at the Enschede
Marathon in the Netherlands where he finished third. The European challenge
will be led by Oleksandr Sitkovskyyof the Ukraine who set his PR of 2:10:16
when finishing second in Turin last year.
"We are looking forward to a fast and competitive race at the 12th running
of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon," said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete
Coordinator for the event. "We have a great mixture of east African talent,
both seasoned pros and up and coming athletes who will surely make a name
for themselves over the next few years."
Former Rock 'n' Roll champions Belay Wolasha of Ethiopia and Philip Tarus
of Kenya are returning to the marathon this year. Tarus is the course
record holder, whose time of 2:08:33 has now stood as San Diego's best for
9 years. Belay was the winner of the 2000 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and is
opening a training camp just outside Addis Ababa, and hopes to encourage
runners of all abilities, locations and backgrounds to come over and train
like the Ethiopians.
On the women's side, the defending champions from both 2007 and 2008 will
return to San Diego this year. 2008 winner Yuliya Gromova of Russia returns
to the course where she set her PR of 2:28:23. She will have her hands full
with 2007 Champion Hellen Kimutai of Kenya, whose PR of 2:25:52 was set in
Hamburg in 2003. In her past two marathons she ran sub 2:30 times in
Beijing and Seoul last year.
"It's great to have the last two female champions on the start line," added
Turnbull. "I'm sure both runners will be eager to stand on the top of the
podium in 2009."
The women's field includes two other dangerous competitors. Ethiopian Liela
Laman has a PR of 2:27:54 set in Berlin in 2004 and San Diego will be her
first race after having a baby last year. Albina Mayorova represented
Russia in the 2004 Olympic Games and has a PR of 2:25:35 from Chicago in
2003. She was 7th in Rome earlier this finishing in 2:30:21.
American stars Ryan Hall and Josh Cox will run the first part of this
Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego to pace Tom Bedford, son of
Virgin London Marathon race director and former world record-holder at
10,000m Dave Bedford, sub 2:25 marathon attempt to win a bet he made with
his father after last year's London Marathon. But in doing so, Tom will be
raising money for the Entoto Foundation, a 501C3 charity based in San Diego
that funds medical care for children in Ethiopia.
"I am excited to support Tom in his noble goal of not only running a world
class marathon time but more importantly helping people that he, and I,
have a big heart for," said Ryan Hall. "When I think about what I want to
have accomplished when I have run my last marathon I hope that I have used
my God-given abilities to help people. Tom is doing just that so it is my
honor to help him in whatever way I can. I hope that I, and other runners,
can follow in his footsteps.
Tom's 2:25 Challenge began - as so many bets do - in a London pub after
last year's London Marathon. Over a pint or two Tom said he could manage a
sub-2:25 if he trained. Following the grand tradition of mocking any
declaration delivered over a pint, Tom's father and friends instantly
challenged his sanity and ability. Tom quickly asked if they'd like to
make it interesting. So the bet was made. Tom would have three years to
fulfill his boast, and could run as many marathons as necessary to complete
his goal. To further his chances and broaden his appeal, Tom asked that
all bets against him go to the Entoto Foundation which was founded in 2007
by Rich Jayne, Tim Murphy and Mike Long of Elite Racing. San Diego will be
Tom's second attempt at the 2:25 Challenge. His first was a solid, but
unsuccessful 2:33 at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. last
To date Tom has over $26,000 pledged against him. To join in the fun and
bet against Tom, go to the Entoto Foundation's website at www.entoto.org.
Here's the kicker. Guess what time Tom runs, and if you are among the
closest five you will receive a personally signed to you piece running gear
from the likes of world marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie,
five-time World Cross Country champion Paul Tergat, 2008 Olympic Marathon
champions Sammy Wanjiru and Constantina Tomescu-Dita, and Ryan Hall and
Josh Cox, Tom's two pacers on Sunday.
The entire field of elite athletes will be introduced during the official
media briefing at 11:00 am Friday on the Bayside Terrace of the San Diego
Convention Center, site of the event's two-day Health and Fitness Expo. The
race begins Sunday morning at 6:30 am on 6th Avenue at Palm in Balboa Park,
with live bands and local high school cheer squads performing along every
mile of the 26.2-mile course. For more information about the Rock 'n' Roll
Marathon or to view a complete start list, please visit