By Dan Cruz, Competitor Group –
With most eyes in the running world focused on Eugene for the USA Track & Field Championships, it was only fitting that a former pair of University of Oregon runners swept the half-marathon Saturday morning at the third Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon benefiting the American Cancer Society.
Kicking off the Seafair summer festival under ideal running conditions, more than 26,000 entrants gathered in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila for the 7:00am start. Scott MacPherson of Austin, Texas, who won Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half last year, pushed the first two miles with Christian Hesch of Hollywood, California. Fifty meters back was a second group led by 25-year-old Carlos Trujillo, who was running his first half-marathon.
Slowly but steadily, Trujillo picked up his pace, reeling in MacPherson, whose lead shrunk from 30 seconds to 15 seconds to 12 seconds by mile 12. As mile 13 approached, Trujillo, the 2008 Pac-10 champion over 10,000 meters, dropped the hammer and outkicked MacPherson to win in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 51 seconds.
Trujillo’s time was a new event record on the point-to-point course (and the fastest half-marathon run in the State of Washington). MacPherson finished in 1:03:53 and Hesch took third at 1:04:32. With their sub-65 minute performance, all three men qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston on January 14, 2012.
“My goal was to run sub-1:05 and those two guys took off at the start. I first saw Hesch at mile 6 and I just tried to close on Scott with a couple miles to go. I knew if I could get beside him with 800 meters to go I had a chance to win,” said Trujillo, who plans to make his marathon debut at the Olympic Trials. “It feels good to get a win under my belt. The event was really organized with a great atmosphere, and perfect weather for the race. The course was nice, only a couple of challenging hills.”
Fellow Oregon Duck Mattie Suver, who trains with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project but lives locally in Seattle, set a 5-minute half-marathon personal best, winning the women’s race in 1:15:40.
“There was a good group of guys running with me and I could see the other women in front of me,” said Suver, who won her first race since college, taking the lead in the final mile. “It was exciting. I ran Vegas in December and I love these events. There is always something going on and people cheering. It was just a great day.”
The men’s marathon was a two-runner duel from the start, with 34-year old Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya pitted against 29-year-old Ethiopian Teshome Kokebe. The pair ran 20:28 through the first 4 miles and stayed together through the 35K mark, when Ndambuki made his move. He held on to win the race 2:24:51.
“I knew I had to make my move to win the race,” said Ndambuki, who finished third (2:10) at the first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 1998. “It feels so great to win, and I’d like to come back next year.”
Triathlete Sheila Croft of Redmond, Washington won the women’s marathon in 2:50:21. It was the first marathon victory for Croft, who set a 16 minute personal best and plans to compete at the Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii this fall.
“I’ll probably compete in a couple of triathlons this summer and then I have Kona on my schedule in October,” said Croft, who has won two half-marathons in the past year. “The bands were awesome, they kept me motivated. Today was a lot of fun.”
Actress Andrea Powell, who will star in the upcoming Twilight movie, completed the half-marathon in 2:13:55, running as part of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team. State of Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna ran the half-marathon in 1:55:54.
The event was also marked by a moving tribute to fallen soldiers near mile 7.5, where 42 American flags and photos lined the banks of Lake Washington. The flags were held by family members as part of wear blue: run to remember, a Fort Lewis-based group that had more than 100 runners participate in the event and also sponsored a water station.
“This was without a doubt the most memorable and powerful mile I have ever experienced at a running event,” said Bouker Pool, Competitor Group SVP of marketing, who participated in the half-marathon.
Runners joined their friends and family for a rocking post-race celebration and concert with headliner Everclear.
The 4th Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2012.
3rd Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon
Seattle, WA, Saturday, June 25, 2011
1) Jonathan Ndambuki (KEN), 2:24:51, $1000
2) Teshome Kokebe (ETH), 2:27:13, $500
3) Darryl Brown (PA), 2:32:49, $250
1) Sheila Croft (WA), 2:50:21, $1000
2) Alexandra Blake (AZ), 2:52:32, $500
3) Heather Lieberg (MT), 2:56:46, $250
3rd Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle ½ Marathon
1) Carlos Trujillo (ID), 1:03:51*, $1000
2) Scott MacPherson (TX), 1:03:53, $500
3) Christian Hesch (CA), 1:04:32, $250
*event record (previous record, 1:04:55, Andrew Letherby (AUS), 2010)
1) Mattie Suver (WA), 1:15:40, $1000
2) Caroline White (OR), 1:15:50, $500
3) Kelly Calway (CO), 1:18:34, $250
Complete results, photos and more at: http://seattle.competitor.com