FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Half Marathon Race Headlines Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Seattle
Two-Time Chicago Marathon Champion Berhane Adere Highlights Women's Field
SEATTLE, Wash. - (June 23, 2009) - An international field of Olympic
athletes will take to the roads of the Pacific Northwest Saturday for the
Inaugural running of the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon and 1/2 Marathon, a
Seafair Signature Event.
The women's professional field will be led by former 10,000m World
Champion Berhane Adere of Ethiopia. Adere, who will compete in the 1/2
marathon, won back-to-back Chicago Marathons in 2006-07 and was the winner
of the Dubai Marathon last year. She holds a half-marathon PR of 1 hour, 8
minutes, 17 seconds and is looking to challenge the Washington State record
of 1:10:08 set in 1990 by Lisa Weidenbach, the last American to win the
"We are delighted to have an athlete of Berhane's caliber come to Seattle,"
said Matt Turnbull, Athlete Coordinator for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
Series. "She is in fantastic condition and we expect her championship form
to carry through in what is shaping up to be a great contest on June 27th."
Romanian Nuta Olaru, winner of the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio last
November and two-time L.A. Marathon runner-up, joins Adere amongst the
favorites in the women's 1/2 marathon.
The men's 1/2 marathon field is led by former marathon world record holder
Paul Tergat. A two-time Olympic silver medalist, Tergat, 40, won Lake Biwa
Marathon in Japan earlier this year and was the first runner in history to
run a sub-2:05 marathon with a then record setting time of 2:04:55 in 2003.
Tergat will be challenged by fellow Kenyans Nicolas Koech and Elijah
Nyabuti. Koech won the Prague 1/2 Marathon in March with a time of 1:00:07.
Nyabuti, 29 owns a 1/2 marathon PR of 1:01:19. The half-marathon record for
the State of Washington is 1:05:43 set by American Dave Mora in 1994.
Challenging the East Africans in the 13.1-mile road race, will be the
Pacific Northwest's own Mark Mandi and Sean Sundwall. Mandi, a 2006
graduate of the University of Washington where he ran track and cross
country, has won multiple road races around the region including the
individual championship in the 2004 Sundodger Invitational and the 2005
Charles Bowles Invitational. He helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA
Championships in 2003 and 2005 as a co-captain of the cross country team.
His 1/2 marathon PR of 1:06:37 was set in 2007 in Eugene.
Sundwall, winner of the 2008 Tacoma Half Marathon, is a resident of
Snoqualmie, WA and qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials. He won the
Newport Marathon in Oregon last year with a time of 2:22:47, breaking the
course record by four minutes.
Rounding out the men's half marathon field is four-time Belgian half
marathon champion Rik Ceulemans, who owns a personal best of 1:02:07 over
The marathon field will be lead by Americans Mark Batres and Andy Martin.
Batres, a five-time All American at Cal Poly Pomona, has a PR of 2:19:07
set in 2007 when he finished second at the Las Vegas Marathon. He won the
Santa Barbara Wine Country 1/2 Marathon last month in 1:05:45, breaking the
course record by over a minute. Martin set his marathon PR of 2:20:04 back
in 1999 and won the hilly Big Sur Marathon in 2:29:50 last year.
Other contenders in the marathon field include Kenyan trio of David Kiprop
Yego, Jynocel Basweti and Zach Nymbaso, all of whom are capable of claiming
victory. Basweti, 22, trains in New Mexico and won the Quad Cities, Denver
and SunTrust Richmond Marathons in 2008. His PR of 2:14:02 at the Austin
Marathon was one of the fastest marathon times on U.S. soil in 2007.
The favorite in the women's marathon field is American Leah Thorvilson of
Little Rock, AR. She has already run two marathons this year, a close 2nd place finish in Green Bay (2:37:55) and a win at Little Rock (2:44:19).
The entire field of elite runners will be introduced at a local press
conference on Thursday afternoon at 1:00pm. The media event will be held in
the clinic area of the Health & Fitness Expo at the Qwest Event Center and
moderated by acclaimed running broadcaster Toni Reavis.
About Rock 'n' Roll Seattle
The Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon is part of a national
series of eleven musically themed marathon and half-marathon events. The
inaugural race sold-out with more than 25,000 participants and will feature
over 45 live bands and thousands of cheerleaders along the marathon and
half-marathon courses. Qwest Field will be the location of both the finish
line and Health & Fitness Expo at the Qwest Event Center. The two-day
Health & Fitness Expo is free and open to the public, hosting over one
hundred running and fitness retailers, exhibits and clinics. For more
information, visit: www.RnRseattle.com