FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tom Koch
Highland Public Relations
Kenyan, Russian Runners Headline Elite Field at Road Runner Akron Marathon
Increased prize purse attracts strong field
AKRON, Ohio - (Sept. 27, 2005) - A tripling of first place prize money to
$12,000 for the 3rd Annual Road Runner Akron Marathon has drawn a highly
competitive field of elite runners in both the men's and women's divisions.
"After only three years, this marathon has reached the depth and quality of
elite runners that will guarantee a battle on the streets of Akron by
veteran runners as well as some up-and-coming long distance athletes," said
John Tope, the coordinator of elite athletes and the man responsible for
bringing them to Akron.
Seven Kenyan runners are among nine elite marathoners signed to run in the
men's division of the marathon on Sat., Oct. 1. Based on personal records,
35-year-old Andrew Musuva of Kenya leads the field with a time of 2:12:01.
He already has one win under his belt this year at the Carlsbad Marathon in
California, plus a third place finish in the Derby Festival Marathon in
Louisville. Last year, he won the Quad Cities Marathon on the Iowa/Illinois
border and the Newport Marathon in Oregon, plus a 5th place finish in the
Baltimore Marathon and a 7th place in America's Finest Half Marathon in San
Fellow Kenyan James Karanja had a 4th place finish earlier this year at
Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn. and his personal best time, which he
recorded in 2003, is less than two minutes behind Musuva. Other Kenyan
runners competing for the $12,000 first prize money include Charles
Kamindo, 23, winner of the Derby Festival Marathon and the Green Bay Half
Marathon; Mike Korir, 30, who took 1st place last year in the Mercedes
Marathon in Birmingham and the Philadelphia Marathon. Rounding out the
men's elite field are Kenyans Albert Kiplagat, Stephen Muturi and Jonah
Rono. Rono was the winner of the Inaugural Road Runner Akron Marathon in
2003. Also entered in the men's race are Jaroslaw Cichocki, 34, of Poland
and Sergey Emelyanov, 26, of Russia.
The women's marathon field is dominated by eastern European runners led by
Irina Bogacheva, 44, of Kyrgyzstan. Over a three year period, she won the
Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in
San Diego and the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. She was also the
1999 winner of the Los Angeles Marathon and the runner-up in the 2000
Boston Marathon. Her personal best time is 2:26:27.
"Don't let her age fool you," said Tope. "Though now a master runner, Irina
Bogacheva has run under 2:30 in the last year and is also a past Olympian."
Five other elite women marathoners are entered in this year's race
including Polish runner Wioletta Kryza. The 37-year-old has won 23
marathons in her career including the Cleveland Marathon in 2000, a
five-time champion of the Echternach-Luxembourg Marathon from 1996-2000 and
a four-time winner of the Taipei Marathon from 1995-1998. Other women in
the field include Russian runners Larisa Michailova, Marina Bychkova and
Elvira Kolpakova. Peruvian marathoner Maria Portilla, 32, rounds out the
women's field. Portilla was a member of her country's marathon team at the
2004 Athens Olympics.
Registrations for both the marathon and the relays are running ahead of
last year's numbers and organizers believe total registrations for the
marathon, the five-person relay and the new two-person relay could top
5,000. For more details about the Road Runner Akron Marathon or to register
for the marathon or team relays, visit www.AkronMarathon.org or call (330) 375