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Hussein Sweeps USA Open, Masters Marathon Titles
Aish, Loken Claim Women's Crowns at Twin Cities
ST. PAUL, Minn. - (October 2, 2005) - A marathon veteran and a newcomer to
this humbling event won USA titles at the 24th Twin Cities Marathon on a
challenging Sunday morning.
Mbarek Hussein, 40, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Kenya,
fought unseasonable humidity and windy conditions to win the men's USA Open
and Masters titles in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 28 seconds. Nicole Aish, 29, of
Gunnison, Colo., a track standout making her marathon debut, survived
difficulty in the final miles to claim the USA Open crown in 2:40:21. Both
are first-time USA champs.
Susan Loken, 42, of Phoenix, Ariz. won the USA Masters title for women, her
first as well, finishing third overall in 2:43:10. Skies were cloudy
throughout the race which started in 66 degree temperatures.
Hussein, an Albuquerque, N.M. resident, pulled away from James Carney and
Brandon Leslie as the course crossed the Mississippi River in the race's
20th mile. Despite running only 5:39 and 5:40 over the following two miles
and looking taxed himself, Hussein built more than a minute's lead over his
pursuers by mile 22. Carney would ultimately drop out of the race; Leslie
would finish sixth.
"Actually, I don't think I made a move, I only kept the same pace,"
Hussein, the younger brother of three-time Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim
Hussein explained. "I thought I was slowing down, but I looked back and I
didn't see anyone coming. It felt kind of hard running alone."
Unlike the race leaders at the 20 mile mark here the past two years,
however, Hussein rallied to hang on for the victory. His perseverance paid
off to the tune of $38,000 once his overall, USA Open, USA Masters, and
overall masters earnings were rung up. His time was the second slowest
winning time in Twin Cities history.
In the early going, perhaps sensing the sticky weather would make for tough
marathoning, the men's lead pack crept through the first three miles at
5:20 pace, before unwinding, albeit cautiously, as the course passed
Minneapolis' picturesque lakes neighborhood. The lead pack, which winnowed
itself from some twenty runners at five miles to eight by the half-way
mark, passed the half-marathon in 1:08:27.
Admission to the lead pack, though, was ultimately costly to all but
Hussein. Runner-up Ben Rosario of St. Louis (2:20:43) and third place
finisher Wynston Alberts of Portland, Ore. (2:21:42), succeeded from off
the lead pace. David Ernsberger of Little Lake, Mich. did finish fourth in
2:22:05 coming from the lead pack, but fifth placer Brantley Lutz clocked
2:22:34 also from behind.
Lead-packers Carney, Sergio Reyes and Kyle Baker would all drop out.
Defending USA Master's champion Dennis Simonaitis was runner-up in the
masters division, running 2:27:33 for 20th overall.
In the women's race, Aish was a lead pack unto herself, finding no one to
follow her to what she hoped would be a 2:34 marathon debut. Aish had
amassed a three-and-a-half minute lead by the half-way point, and was
reportedly clear by more than five minutes at the 18 mile mark. Not unlike
Blake Russell's 2003 debut victory here, however, the off-the-front racing
in the early miles meant a lot of suffering along St. Paul's Summit Avenue
in the late-going for Aish, who stopped twice due to leg cramps in the
final five miles.
"I was just throwing my body forward," Aish explained. "I started blacking
out at about twenty. I knew I was slowing. I thought someone might catch
me, but I just tried to stay positive and keep my legs moving. I knew I had
to finish - I had to finish."
"I'd always heard about hitting the wall," the marathon debutante added,
"and I think I hit the wall pretty good."
Aish's hard landing was cushioned by the $30,000 she earned for the overall
win and USA Open title. Her time was the slowest women's winning time in
Zika Palmer of Blowing Rock, N.C. was national runner-up in 2:41.06. Behind
masters champ Loken was Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge, Montana, fourth in
2:43:10 and Johanna Olson, a Minnesota native now living in Corvallis,
Ore., fifth in 2:44:09.
Loken, the master division bridesmaid last year, was ecstatic with her run.
"I came in second here last year, so this is a thrill," she said. "National
champion, how cool is that?"
2004 USA Masters champ Janet Robertz of Shorewood, Minn. did not finish
In this the first opportunity for athletes to qualify for the 2008 U.S.
Olympic Marathon Trials, 12 women and only 3 men made the standards of
2:47:00 and 2:22:00, respectively. Most notable among the qualifiers was
48-year-old Joan Benoit Samuelson, the gold medalist at the inaugural
Olympic Marathon in 1984 and until 2003, the U.S. record-holder in the
"I just said, you're not getting any younger, Twin Cities is the first
Olympic Trials qualifier and then the window closes until next year, you
have your health, go for it," Benoit Samuelson said of her choice to run
here. "I'd had a nagging hamstring and Achilles problems that were
compensation injuries - one for the other - but I finally started to feel
like I was getting it together this summer."
Samuelson clocked 2:46:27 for 11th overall and runner-up in the master's
Despite the weather, both races had a record number of finishers with 7,753
runners completing the marathon and 4,085 finishing the TC 10 Mile
"Shortcut to the Capitol."
The Twin Cities Marathon will host the USA Marathon Championships for Open
and masters men and women again in 2006.
24th Twin Cities Marathon: USA Men's, Women's & Masters Championships
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Sunday, October 2, 2005
1) Mbarak Hussein, 40, NM, 2:18:28, $38,000
2) Ben Rosario, MO, 2:20:43, $17,500
3) Wynston Alberts, OR, 2:21:42, $11,000
4) David Ernsberger, MI, 2:22:05, $9000
5) Brantley Lutz, NM, 2:22:34, $7000
6) Brandon Leslie, NM, 2:22:54, $5000
7) Mark Pilja, CA, 2:22:56, $4000
8) Michael Little, MN, 2:23:00, $3500
9) Chris Lundstrom, MN, 2:24:04, $2400
10) Michael Reneau, WI, 2:24:12, $1000
MASTERS Men (40+)
1) Hussein, see above
2) Dennis Simonaitis, 43, UT, 2:27:33, $6000
3) Paul Aufdemberge, 40, MI, 2:29:49, $4000
1) Nicole Aish, CO, 2:40:21, $30,000
2) Zika Palmer, NC, 2:41:06, $17,500
3) Susan Loken, 42, AZ, 2:43:10, $19,000
4) Nicole Hunt, MT, 2:43:25, $9000
5) Johanna Olson, OR, 2:44:09, $7000
6) Christy Nielsen, IA, 2:45:19, $5000
7) Jennifer DeRego, MI, 2:45:22, $4000
8) Jill Boaz, CA, 2:45:34, $3000
9) Sopagna Eap, OR, 2:45:57, $2000
10) Mary Kate Bailey, VA, 2:46:03, $1000
MASTERS Women (40+)
1) Loken, see above
2) Joan Benoit Samuelson, 48, ME, 2:46:27, $6000
3) Doreen McCoubrie, 43, PA, 2:50:05, $4000
Full results at: www.twincitiesmarathon.org