Rock 'n' Roll Marathon 2009 Champions return
SAN DIEGO - (June 3, 2010) - One of the world's greatest marathon runners, South African Hendrick Ramaala, will lead a sold-out field of 30,000 entrants on Sunday, June 6 at the revamped Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. For the first time in San Diego's 13-year Rock 'n' Roll history, the event will include a half-marathon, along with a new finish line at SeaWorld.
The 2004 ING New York City Marathon champion, Ramaala owns a personal record of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 55 seconds from the 2006 London Marathon. He finished 5th at the Virgin London Marathon last year, running a time of 2:07:44.
"I'm excited to run the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, every morning I have been pushing my training," said Ramaala. "I've heard a lot of nice things about the race and the city, I would love to do well in front of the people there and put on a good show. I've never been to San Diego and I'm excited to see the city."
Ramaala will line up against defending champion Khalid El Boumlili of Morocco, as well as former 5000 meter world champion Richard Limo of Kenya. Prior to winning last year's Rock 'n' Roll event, El Boumlili finished third at the 2008 Boston Marathon in a personal record of 2:10:35. Better known for his accomplishments on the track, Limo comes to San Diego with his sights set on countryman Philip Tarus' longstanding event record of 2:08:33. With a marathon best of 2:06:45, Limo joins Tariku Jafur of Ethiopia (2:08:10) and Kenei Kiprotich of Kenya (2:07:42) with personal bests quicker than the course record.
Since Josh Cox's 9th-place finish at the 1999 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, no American male has finished in the top 10 at San Diego's premier 26.2-mile road race. The United States' best hope to end the streak is Nick Arciniaga, who trains with the McMillan-Elite team in Flagstaff, AZ. Arciniaga recently finished third at the USA 25K Championships in Grand Rapids, MI on May 8. Last year, he finished 8th overall at the ING New York City Marathon, running a personal best of 2:13:46.
"With a new course this year we have possibly the most talented field ever assembled for the men's marathon in San Diego," said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete Recruiter. "We have eleven past Rock 'n' Roll champions who will be running and the men's event record of 2:08:33 is certainly under threat with four guys in the field who have run PRs under 2:08."
In the women's race, Russian Yulia Gromova will be hoping to make it a hat trick of victories as she returns to defend her two consecutive titles. She has set a PR on each occasion in San Diego and will have to run a similar time again this year (2:27:37) if she is to add to her victories.
Gromova's rivals will include Kenya's Anne Kosgei, who set a PR of 2:27:46 when she won the Venice Marathon last year. Expected to join them in the lead pack is 2008 Olympian Dorota Gruca of Poland. Gruca, who trains in New Mexico, finished 30th at the Beijing Olympic Marathon in 2:33:32. She owns a marathon PR of 2:27:46 when she finished 13th at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki.
American Samia Akbar finished runner-up at the USA 25K Championships last month. Her 2:34:14 PR is from her debut marathon at New York in 2006. Ethiopian Tiki Gelana was second last year in the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and at 22 years of age is the youngest female athlete in the pro field.
Race weekend kicks off on Friday, June 4 with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the San Diego Convention Center. The expo will feature a full schedule of interactive clinics hosted by Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher, Meb Keflezighi, Brian Sell, Greg Meyer, Frank Shorter and Ryan Hall.
Famous for its live bands, festive water stations and cheerleaders providing entertainment along each mile, the 2010 edition will also feature an exclusive marathon kickoff party at SeaWorld for Rock 'n' Roll runners on Friday night.
Both the marathon and the debut half-marathon will begin adjacent to Balboa Park on Sixth Avenue and Palm, starting together at 6:15 am. The entire race course has been enhanced from previous editions and will feature a scenic, point-to-point tour of San Diego including the Prado in Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter, Fashion Valley, a five-mile loop on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay and a marathon stretch inside the 'Park at the Park' at PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres. The event concludes Sunday afternoon with a finish line celebration and headliner concert at SeaWorld featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.