FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Reid, Elite Racing
Kim Dettwiller, Elite Racing
Country Music Marathon crowns two new champions
Course record shattered in half marathon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 29, 2006) -- A rising star and a race veteran each
engineered a tactical race en route to winning the seventh annual Country
Music Marathon Sunday in Music City. Ethiopian newcomer Feyisa Tusse
captured the men's title in a time of 2:15:06 and Russian Tatiana Mironova
won the women's race in 2:36:51. Each earned a winner's check of $17,500 or
a Nissan automobile.
For Tusse, it was his first marathon victory and a personal best time for
the former 5,000 and 10,000-meter runner. Mironova, 36, finished third here
in Nashville last year.
Tusse, 26, used a surge at mile 20 to pull ahead by 15 seconds and take the
lead from countryman Fekadu Degefu and 2003 Country Music champion Jomo
Kororia. Kenyan David Kirui was nearly a minute and a half back. However,
by mile 22, clocked at a pedestrian 5:30, it turned tactical and nobody
wanted to take the lead. Kirui was able to move back into the picture, but
after expending his energy, dropped back five meters by mile 24. Tusse was
biding his time at that point and with just over a mile to go, he had the
victory in hand. Kirui (2:15:20) used a furious sprint over the final 100
meters to take second place over Degefu (2:15:26).
"After I passed the halfway point, I was thinking I might quit," said Tusse
after his victory. I tried my best but I had a pain in my stomach. I said
'I will keep trying. I will win this race.' At 30-kilometers nobody wanted
to lead. By 40- kilometers, I was thinking 'I am the winner.'"
The women's field was narrowed down early to Kenyan Anne Jelegat, Ethiopian
Dire Tune and Mironova. The trio passed the half marathon mark at 1:19 and
the real race started at 16 miles. The women negative split the second half
of the race, running into the wind but dropping the pace. Mironova started
to close the gap at 20 miles but it wasn't until the women entered Shelby
Park at mile 23 that they started to separate. Mironova used a strong surge
over the final two miles, making up a 40 second deficit, to pull away and
cross the finish line all alone. Jelegat was second (2:37:23) and Tune was
"I don't remember the course from last year, I just ran," said Mironova.
Today it was all new tactics. The first half was easy and the second half
was hard work. Nobody wanted to go, nobody wanted to take the lead. The
last mile was so fast, I felt like I was a cat, running for the mouse."
Local standout Kevin Hill, 29, of Nashville, Tenn., had a good day as he
finished 10th overall and earned $1,000 as the first Tennessee state winner
and another $1,000 as the first Davidson County winner. Maureen Manning of
Brentwood earned the same amount for her efforts on the women's side.
Masters winners, who earned $1,000 each, included Janusz Akuma, 40, of
Chicago, Illinois and Bethany Heslam, 41, of North Port, Fla. John Payne
won the wheelchair division in an even 3:00:21.
In the half marathon, Fernando Cabada from Fresno, Calif. and a student at
Virginia Intermont College, ran a blistering 13.l miles and shattered the
course record, winning in 1:04:57 to erase the old mark of 1:08:54 from
2003. On the women's side, Aileen Conlon of Hoboken, New Jersey won in
Over 23,000 entrants joined the elite fields for the seventh annual Country
Music Marathon & ½ Marathon that runs thru Music City and finishes at The
Coliseum, home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans. Hundreds of high school
cheerleaders and 50 live bands lined the course and over 800 Team In
Training participants raised $2 million (net) for The Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society. The evening was capped off with a headliner concert by country
music star Phil Vassar.