FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010 Boston Marathon Champion Robert Cheruiyot to Lead Elite Field at
15th Annual Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
London Olympians Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall and Kim Smith
Headline Sunday's Half Marathon
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — June 1, 2012 - Don't confuse the Robert Cheruiyot who
won the 2010 Boston Marathon with the Robert Cheruiyot, who won the Boston
Marathon in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The first and last names are the
same, but that's one of the few resemblances. The more recent Boston winner
is 23, the other is 32. The 2010 winner's middle name is Kiprono, the
other's is Kipkoech. The younger Cheruiyot will be heading a strong
professional field for Sunday's 15th annual Rock ‘n' Roll San Diego
Marathon. The other Cheruiyot will not be competing.
"We are not related," Kiprono said on Friday. "I'm not the one who won
Boston four times. But now I have done it and I'm very happy to have done
Both Cheruiyots live in Kenya, but a great distance apart. The older one
lives in Nairobi, the younger in the village of Sarucha.
When Kiprono returned to his little township two years ago after his Boston
triumph, he was greeted like a conquering hero. He estimstes that about
20,000 people from villages all around his home base turned out to greet
him and threw him a celebatory party. They also presented him with five
cows, which he gave to his mother. Should he win in San Diego on Sunday,
the celebration won't be as large, but it will be significant, he said.
Cheruiyot will be fighting some difficult odds in his San Diego debut. One,
he still is recovering from a right hip injury that prevented him from
running Boston again in April. Secondly, his preparation for the race was
disrupted when his luggage was misplaced on the long trip from Nairobi
through Amsterdam and Atlanta to San Diego, preventing him from doing his
usual workout Friday morning.
Still, he is confident. "I don't want to say I will win, but I will do my
best to improve my time," he said. "If we (the other top runners in the
field) run together, maybe we can run 2:07. If the humidity is good, we can
run good. If not, I will do my best."
Cheruiyot's best marathon time is 2:05:52 from his Boston victory, a
clocking that broke the course record at the time. He ran each of his first
four marathons in 2:07:30 or better. He made his international marathon
debut in 2008 at Frankfurt, Germany, and won in a course record 2:07:21.
Sunday's entrants include Pastrick Ivuti of Kenya, a winner at Chicago,
Prague and Honolulu, with a best time of 2:07:46; William Kipsang of Kenya,
a winner at Rotterdam with a PR of 2:05:49; and Ambesse Tolosa of Ethiopia,
the San Diego champion in 2006. The top American is Jeffrey Eggleston of
Flagstaff, Ariz., winner of the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon.
Heading the women's marathon field are Azelosh Woldeslasse of Ethiopia, who
has a best of 2:25:23; Alevtiva Ivanova of Russia, a winner of the Nagano
(Japan) Marathon; and Woynishet Garma of Ethiopia, last year's Honolulu
champion. Topping the U.S. list is Ashley Grosse of Palo Alto, Calif.
Famous for lining race routes with live bands and cheerleaders, the
original Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon will celebrate its
15th birthday on Sunday, June 3, 2012. The 2012 event will feature the
men's 1-2 finishers from the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Meb Keflezighi
and Ryan Hall, competing in the same event less than two months before the
"Once they qualified for the Olympic team, I knew they would be focusing on
London," said Matt Turnbull, elite athlete recruiter who expects two a
highly competitive races Sunday even though the big prize ahead is London.
"We identified a couple of the runners who I knew would fit our race. It
was good timing. The half-marathon is good timing for their full marathon
and San Diego fits in that category. Of course, these guys have London in
mind, but knowing their personalities, they don't like to get beat."
The Eritrean-born Keflezighi, 37, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in
1998, is the defending half-marathon champion, outdueling 4-time London
Marathon champion Martin Lel of Kenyan, who finished second in London this
year, to win his first race in his adopted hometown. Hall, the first
American to break the one-hour barrier on a record standard half-marathon
course and the U.S. record-holder at 59 minutes, 43 seconds set in 2007,
also is anxiously looking forward to the competition.
"Being a native California boy, I am stoked to have the opportunity to race
in my backyard at this year's San Diego Half-Marathon," Hall, 29, said.
"Having lived and trained in San Diego before, I'm excited to finally race
there having seen the race in years past. This year's race fits perfectly
with my preparations for this summer's Olympic Games. It will serve as my
all-important, last race before the Games. I'm looking at this opportunity
as one last chance to learn and tweak my training accordingly before
running in what I consider to be the biggest race of my life."
Meanwhile, Kim Smith will be the front-runner in the women's half-marathon.
Smith is a New Zealand Olympian and owner of the fastest women's
half-marathon ever run in the United States, 1:07:11 set last year at Rock
'n' Roll Philadelphia.
The event will kick-off with the wheelchair invitational beginning at
6:10am on Sunday, June 3, followed by the Marathon, ½ Marathon and 2-Person
Half Marathon Relay at 6:15am. Further information about Rock 'n' Roll San
Diego is available online at: Competitor.com
About Rock 'n' Roll San Diego
A Competitor Group event, the 15th Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon & ½
Marathon To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® will run through sunny
San Diego on Sunday, June 3, 2012. The race will draw approximately 30,000
participants, with live bands and cheerleaders interspersed along each mile
of the scenic course. A two-day Health and Fitness Expo at the San Diego
Convention Center will kick off race weekend, featuring more than one
hundred fitness retailers, exhibits and interactive clinics. Event weekend
concludes with a finish line festival and post-race concert headlined by
For more information about Rock 'n' Roll San Diego, go to Competitor.com or
follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.