FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Elite Racing, Inc.
Champions Defend Titles at
Coca-Cola Zero™ Rock 'n' Roll Marathon®
Past Winners Highlight Men's and Women's Elite Rosters
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 17, 2005) -- Kenyan Joseph Ngolepus and Russian
Tatiana Titova headline a group of returning champions who will be on hand
to test out the new race course for the eighth running of the Rock 'n' Roll
Marathon. The musical marathon, which recently signed Coca-Cola Zero™ as
its title sponsor, is set for Sunday, June 5, 2005. Ngolepus and Titova,
winners in 2004, seek to defend their titles against a field that includes
event record holder Philip Tarus and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Joyce
The elite runners will all be vying for a prize purse that awards $20,000
and a new vehicle to both the men's and women's champions. Each second
place finisher earns $20,000 and all told, the total prize purse is valued
at nearly $200,000.
Ngolepus can expect a spirited battle from Tarus, who returns for another
shot at the title. Tarus won the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 1998
and successfully defended his title in 1999 when he ran a 2:08:33, still
the fastest mark in San Diego. Joining him are countryman Ondoro Osoro, the
2003 winner who ran a 2:09:38, and Ethiopian Belay Wolasha who won in 2000
with a 2:12:45.
Another Kenyan, Michael Rotich, 22, who enters the 2005 race with the
fastest time among elite runners at 2:06:33, will challenge them. Ethiopian
youngster Tekeste Kebede, 25, is seeking to improve on his third place
finish from 2004. He ran a 2:11:48 last year, just behind Ngolepus at
2:11:04 and Jomo Kororia at 2:11:24. Christopher Cheboibich, who finished
fifth at this year's Boston Marathon, returns to San Diego after a four-
year absence. Cheboibich was second to Tarus in the inaugural race and
returned in 2000 to finish fifth.
On the women's side, Titova, who lives and trains in Gainesville, Fla., ran
a personal best 2:29:36 en route to her victory last year. She will face
Chepchumba, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games bronze medalist in the marathon.
Chepchumba, who was fourth at the '04 London Marathon, owns the fastest
time in the women's field at 2:23:22. Countrywoman Hellen Kimutai, 27,
enters with the second fastest time, 2:25:52, and is coming off a third
place finish at the '05 Los Angeles Marathon. Another Kenyan in the field
is Margaret Atodonyang, the second place finisher behind Titova last year.
Two-time Olympic Games competitor Kerryn McCann of Australia enters with a
PR of 2:25:59.
"We have a large and experienced field this year," said Mike Long, elite
athlete coordinator for the Coca-Cola Zero Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. It
should be an outstanding race on both the men's and women's side and I
think it could be anybody's game."
The invitational field will be the first to traverse the newly designed
course that will welcome more than 20,000 runners and walkers on June 5. To
learn more about the marathon or to registration, visit www.rnrmarathon.com
or call 800/311-1255.
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