By: Patrice Malloy
Returning champions and "Olympian Without a Country" will lead another sold-out field
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Three returning race champions and an international contingent of elite athletes including a South Sudanese 2012 Olympian will lead a sold-out field of 10,000 participants in the 22nd Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 27, announced In Motion, Inc., the event organizer.
Ethiopia's Demesse Tefera, the Carlsbad Marathon's 2011 champion, will toe the start line with countryman Dejene Nigussie and Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya. Nigussie won the 2012 Quad Cities Marathon (2:33:22) while Ndambuki racked up a victory at last month's Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon (2:32:24). Seeded Americans include masters standout Thomas Lentz, 45, of Cincinnati, Ohio and Craig McMahon, 23, of Brighton, Mass., who will be making his marathon debut.
On the women's side, Mary Akor of Hawthorne, Calif., the 2011 marathon champion and podium finisher in the 2012 Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon, will return to the familiar, seaside course. A prolific racer, Akor won the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon on Jan. 21, in a time of 2:49:14, just one of her many marathon and half-marathon victories in recent years.
Akor will be joined by fellow 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, Devon Yanko (formally Devon Crosby-Helms) of San Anselmo, Calif., who achieved her marathon PR at the 2012 Olympic Trials (2:38:55).
The men's field for the half marathon includes Mexico's Mario Macias, the 2012 Carlsbad Marathon champion as well as two podium finishers in the half marathon last year: Teklu Terfera Deneke (second in1:05:16) and Joseph Gray of Renton, Wash. (third in1:03:41).
The Carlsbad course alumni will likely be pushed by first-timers, Tesfaye Sendeku Alemayehu of Ethiopia and Kenyans Eric Kipkemei Chirchir and Benard Langat. Alemayehu, 28, was victorious is the 2012 America's Finest City Half Marathon (1:03:36). American Michael Eaton, 25, who clocked 1:03:00 at the 2012 Kentucky Derby Festival half-marathon could also be a contender. The Louisville, Ky. resident is coached by Ron Mann, who also coaches Wesley Koir (the 2012 Boston Marathon champion and three-time winner of the Carlsbad Half Marathon).
Making their half-marathon debuts in Carlsbad are Kenyan Stephen Sambu, 24, a 9-Time NCAA All-American and Guor Marial who competed in the 2012 Olympic Marathon under the Olympic flag. Marial, a refugee from the Sudanese civil war, has been living in the U.S. since 2001. Despite his green card and refugee status, he could not compete for the United States because he was not U.S. citizen. Marial, 28, did not have citizenship, or a passport, from his former homeland, South Sudan, either making him the first Olympian without any true country.
in the women's half-marathon, Kenya's Everlyne Lagat, reining champion and 2011 runner-up, will line up with countrywomen Sarah Kiptoo and Ethiopia's Belainesh Zemedkun Gebre, who set a half marathon personal best at the 2012 Aramco Half Marathon (1:08:51). A strong field of Americans including Carlsbad's Heather Jackson, a professional triathlete and 2012 third place finisher (1:16:11) are also entered.
The 26.2- and 13.1-mile courses will take participants through Carlsbad Village, along historic Pacific Coast Highway and past numerous Carlsbad points of interest. Twenty-six live bands and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, sandy beaches and picturesque lagoons will entertain and motivate the runners.
The race weekend also includes the Health and Lifestyle Expo and Kids Marathon Mile. The Kids Marathon Mile is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at LEGOLAND® California.
Race weekend sponsors include: Tri-City Medical Center, LEGOLAND California Resort, Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach, Ultima Replenisher, NRG, Visit Carlsbad, Road Runner Sports, UltraStar Cinemas, Zoot Sports and KYXY 96.5 FM.
For more information regarding the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon, please visit: CarlsbadMarathon.com.