FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Brenda Scisson
Romanian & Louisianan Claim Wins At Inaugural Little Rock Marathon
LITTLE ROCK, AR (May 4, 2003) -- Anatolie Vartosu of Romania and now
living in Stamford, Connecticut, and Joyce Deason Florance of Bossier City,
Louisiana, running in her 50th marathon, won the men's and women's
categories of the inaugural Little Rock Marathon held today in Little Rock.
Vartosu, posting his first United States marathon victory, had a time of
2:36:53, while Florance's time was 3:20:25. Both had hoped for faster
times, and both cited heat as a factor.
Chuck Engle, 32, of Clinton, Mississippi was second at 2:43:33 and Brian
Bariola, age 28 of Bryant, Arkansas, was third at 2:49:04.
Second place finisher in women's was Betsy Meacham, age 38 of Little Rock,
at 3:21:41, and third was Alice Stewart, age 37- of Little Rock, at
Vartosu was hoping to post a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes, but said the heat
"The second half was hot. I had to run alone most the time and that hurt
my time, also," Vartosu said. This marks the 35 year old's 22nd marathon
and he was impressed with the Little Rock crowd.
"I liked the race support. The crowd was very good. They encouraged me.
I hope I can come back next year," he said.
He has run in marathons in Europe, Russia, Germany, Poland, France and
Italy and the United States. His first marathon victory was in Bucharest
in 1996. He found out about the Little Rock Marathon from a friend who has
a friend from Arkansas.
Florance, 47, is no stranger to Arkansas races, having competed here for
several years. She was not pleased with her time, claiming the weather was
"The course was challenging and those hills at the end will kill you. The
crowd was real good and people along the course were calling out my name -
having names on the numbers were a good idea," Florance said.
Florance said she had strong competition in Betsy Meacham and Alice
"The race starts at mile 20. The last six miles are where a marathon is
won or lost," she said.
"This was special. I thought it would be neat to win the inaugural Little
Rock Marathon on my 50th (marathon)," she said.
Florance, who is a fitness coordinator for a group of hospital-based
fitness centers, has been running since 1980.
"I was overweight and had low self-esteem then. Running made me feel like
somebody. I've been running ever since I picked up my first running trophy
in Alexandria, Louisiana," she concluded.
Winning the male and female master's division (ages 40 and above) was John
Rohde of Vilonia, Arkansas at 3:06:19 and Suzy Seeley of Spring, Texas at
Bernard Neumeier of Little Rock, Arkansas won the men's walking division at
4:11:19, followed by Deo Jaravata of Granada Hills, California at 5:11:00
and Bill Richardson of Hot Springs, Arkansas at 5:22:42.
Maggie Moore of Sherwood, Arkansas won the women's walking division at
4:20:10, followed by Carmelita Lim of Avon Park, Florida at 4:23:05 and
Randi Hamm of Jacksonville, Arkansas at 5:24:09.
Marty Johnson of Maumelle, Arkansas won the men's wheelchair division at
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