FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Monti, Media Consultant
Larry Grollman, Race Director
CAMACHO AND KORTCHAGUINA WIN UPMC/CITY OF PITTSBURGH MARATHON
Beautiful Weather Helped Produce Fast Times
PITTSBURGH (May 4) -- Cool temperatures and an increased prize money purse
helped Juan Camacho Piña of Mexico and Lioudmila Kortchaguina of Russia win
the 19th edition of the UPMC/City of Pittsburgh Marathon in fast times.
Camacho, 30, who also makes bricks to help to support his wife and 9
month-old son, ran the fastest winning time on this challenging course since
1996, crossing the finish line at the 50 yard line of Heinz Field in
2:12:05. His performance was five seconds short of the Olympic Games "A"
standard which would have delivered an extra $2,500 bonus to the Mexican,
who won $12,500 and bagged his first marathon victory.
"For me, personally, the important thing for me is to get qualified for the
Olympic Games," said Camacho who said that his winnings would help him buy
land and a house in Zacatecas where he lives.
Led by pacemaker Scott Strand of Birmingham, Ala., Camacho, along with
Andrey Gordeyev of Belarus, broke away from the rest of the field and built
up a 15 second lead only four miles into the race. Urged on by Gordeyev,
Strand kept the pace high and through the 10 mile mark (49:48) the leaders
were running right at course record pace (2:10:24).
"I kept looking back to get a feel for whether I'm pushing it too much,"
said Strand, a former steeplechaser. "He (Gordeyev) said, 'OK, OK.' I
tried to stay relaxed but keep my foot on the gas a little bit."
Camacho and Gordeyev actually overtook Strand in the 12th mile, and went
through the half-way mark in 1:05:45, still on a sub-2:12 pace. But two
miles later Camacho surged and quickly opened a gap on Gordeyev and by the
16 mile mark the Mexican had a 15 second lead.
"I knew the course would be difficult, but not this difficult," admitted
Gordeyev, a two-time winner of the Hannover Marathon.
Camacho quickly gained complete control of the race and the only suspense
remaining was whether he would get the special bonus for running at least
2:12:00. He hammered the downhill 22nd (4:58) and 23rd (4:43) miles, and
was on pace to get the bonus as he made the left hand turn into the stadium
tunnel. Urged on by the cheering crowd, Camacho tried mightily to get
under the time but fell five seconds short. Nonetheless, he was pleased
and did not mind running most of the second half alone.
"I did not find it too difficult because I trained alone," said Camacho who
became the first Mexican winner of the race since the legendary Rodolfo
Gomez in 1987.
Gordeyev won a tough battle for second place over Andrej Naumov of Ukraine.
Gordeyev pulled away in the last 10 kilometers to earn the runner up
position in 2:14:07, 40 seconds ahead of Naumov.
KORTCHAGUINA NEARLY MAKES HISTORY
The 2:29:50 course record of American Margaret Groos stood up for the 15th
straight year, but only narrowly. Kortchaguina, 31, who makes her home in
Toronto, slipped away from defending champion Magdalena Lewy from Oakland,
Calif. early in the second half of the race, and latched onto a male
runner, Dzmitry Sivou of Belarus, who became her de facto pacemaker.
Running just a step behind Sivou, Kortchaguina plowed through the second
half of the course, fully confident that she would break the Olympic Games
"A" standard which would give her the special $15,000 winner's check.
"This race is very, very difficult," said Kortchaguina in her best English
after the race. It didn't look like the course map."
Still accompanied by Sivou, Kortchaguina turned into Heinz Field with
Groos's record still a possibility. She simply ran out of steam and
finished in 2:29:53, just three seconds off the mark.
"This was my personal best time," said Kortchaguina with pride. She was
especially pleased with the $15,000 winner's check. "It's not bad," she
joked adding, "that's good money!"
Lewy enjoyed an important personal victory. By finishing second in 2:31:38
she got her 2004 Olympic Games "A" standard time, the fourth U.S. woman to
do so, easing the pressure on her in next year's U.S. Olympic Trials in St.
Louis. "That was actually my main goal for today," said the Polish-born
Lewy. "It allows me more freedom to choose my fall marathon."
Tatiana Gladyr of Ukraine, running her first race in the United States,
finished third in 2:38:04.
SCHABORT SETS WHEELCHAIR RECORD
Krige Schabort, a South African who lives in Cedartown, Ga. won the
wheelchair competition in a course record 1:30:17, upsetting defending
champion, course record holder and countryman Ernst Van Dyk. Schabort, 30,
who lost his legs in a military battle in 1987, pulled away from Van Dyk in
the 11th mile to get the win. He cited his lighter weight as helping him
tackle Pittsburgh's hills. Van Dyke also dipped under the previous record
6,119 RUNNERS TAKE PART
The marathon, including the Mellon Relay and the UPMC Health Plan 5-K
Run/Walk, attracted 6,119 entrants, the second highest total in the 19 year
history of the event. Only the Olympic Trials year in 2000 had more.
There were a total of 2,622 entrants in the marathon, 2,315 in the Mellon
Relay and 1,182 in the 5-K.
"We were certainly pleased by the participant numbers," said race director
Larry Grollman who is in his seventh year at the helm of this event.
1. Juan Camacho Piña, 30, Mexico 2:12:05 $12,500
2. Andrey Gordeyev, 29, Belarus 2:14:07 7,500
3. Andrej Naumov, 29, Ukraine 2:14:47 3,000
4. James Karanja, 24, Kenya 2:16:13 2,000
5. Kassahun Kabiso, 19, Ethiopia 2:18:56 1,000
6. Wesley Chelule, 28, Kenya 2:21:01 500
7. Amos Gitagama, 24, Kenya 2:22:11 250
8. Retta Feyissa, 27, Ethiopia 2:24:24
9. Edward Callinan, 28, Haddonfield, N.J. 2:26:16
10. James Hamilton, Imperial, Pa. 2:28:03
1. Lioudmila Kortchaguina, 31, Russia 2:29:53 $15,000*
2. Magdalena Lewy, 29, Oakland, Calif. 2:31:38 7,500
3. Tatyana Gladyr, 28, Ukraine 2:38:04 3,000
4. Volha Yudziankova, 36, Belarus 2:38:18 2,000
5. Leteyesus Berhe, 24, Ethiopia 2:43:11 1,000
6. Tammy Slusser, 37, Monroeville, Pa. 2:56:41 500
7. Jill Knesh, 29, Homer City, Pa. 2:59:30 500p
8. Lynn Johnson, 29, N. Attleboro, Mass. 2:59:57 250
*Prize money includes special bonus for 2:32:00 or better
p= Earned $500 for first Pennsylvanian
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