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Posted: January 25, 2016:  

Athletics: Slimani Dominates, Kieffer Perseveres At Miami Marathon

The Miami Marathon And Half Marathon has always been one of Benazzouz Slimani's favorite races. The 40-year-old Moroccan who lives in Italy won South Florida's elite distance running event in 2009, was second in 2011 and 2015 and finished third in 2012.

Sunday Slimani took ownership of the event. He annihilated the field, becoming the oldest winner in the 14-year history of the race with a time of 2:24:56 that was nearly 17 minutes faster than runner-up Juan Manuel Martinez' effort. It made Slimani the third double winner in the Marathon's history.

New Yorker Allie Kieffer, 28, was a surprise winner in the women's marathon (2:55:31:38) after pulling a last-minute switch from the half marathon to the longer race. She had never run a marathon before and had to overcome the pain from severe blood blisters on her feet.

Stephen Njoroge (1:05:09), a 25-year-old Kenyan who lives in Hebron, KY, outsprinted a fellow Kenyan, 32-year-old Benson Cheruiyot (1:05:25) to win the Men's Half Marathon. Peru native Santa Ines Melchor Surquillo, 29, set an event record in the women's Half Marathon with a time of 1:13:52. Melchor Surquillo bettered Kenyan Risper Gesabwa's 1:14:00 mark set in 2013.

Those four stood triumphant from a diverse field of nearly 24,000 runners who entered the race from all 50 states and 81 countries including nearly 1,000 from Colombia alone. The field enjoyed the tropical views in brisk conditions offered by a unique course and a rare cold spell that brought temperatures down to a race-record low 46 degrees for the 6 a.m. start outside the American Airlines Arena.

The runners found a challenge in a subtle change necessitated by construction closings on the Venetian Causeway that connects Miami Beach with the mainland. As they have for the past 13 years, runners negotiated the MacArthur Causeway bridge on their way to Miami Beach as the first part of their journey. But on Sunday they also returned to the mainland via the MacArthur with the additional inclines providing a fresh challenge between miles 7 and 10.

The course then wound south through the lush Coconut Grove community before heading north through the Brickell Avenue financial district on the way to the finish line in front of Bayfront Park and the gleaming high rise buildings of downtown Miami.

"From start to finish, I was running alone," said Slimani, who ran well off his personal best of 2:13. "I had no one pushing me. I think I took it easier on myself than I could have."

Indeed, second place finisher Juan Manuel Martinez, 27, of Bogota, Colombia (2:41:51.99) was 17 minutes off the pace and third place finisher Winston Rheinbolt of Concord, NC (2:4203.21) was nearly 18 minutes behind.

"I like the cold," said Slimani, who trained for the race in the altitude of native Morrocco and Italy, where he currently resides. "The most difficult part of the race was the wind, especially during the final three miles. But the cold, it's good for running long distance."

Slimani shrugged off the notion that he's running well at an older age.

"Many athletes run better times at 42, 43," he said. "At 40, I know I can run faster."

Kieffer, a former Wake Forest and Arizona State collegiate runner, was just hours ahead of the Northeastern snowstorm when she arrived in Miami Friday afternoon all signed up to run the half-marathon.

After noticing that all the elite runners in the race were enrolled at the 13.1-mile Half Marathon distance, Kieffer switched to the Full Marathon even though she had never competed at a distance of more than 15.5 miles in her career.

The blood blisters began to form around Mile 11, when Kieffer was sitting in fourth place.

"I tried to land differently and then my shin started hurting, so I just decided I would just try to numb it," said Kieffer.

As the race progressed, Kieffer's feet went numb and she stopped feeling the pain. At mile 21, the New Yorker had moved in to second place, but quickly learned that the first-place runner was a minute and a half ahead.

"How am I going to make up a minute and a half in five miles?" Kieffer asked herself. "So I started picking up the pace, and then the camera crew came by and I heard them say 'No. 14 (her bib number) came out of nowhere, coming up on No. 1, going to pass her within the mile!' And I was like, 'Oh, this is great. That's good news.'

"Then I got a little bit of a boost, and she (second place finisher Jordania Diaz, 3:01:25.55) kept looking back. Once you look back, you're kind of giving up because you're not really looking ahead anymore. You're worried about the person behind you. I knew I had her at Mile 22."

Kieffer relied on her competitiveness to pull herself through.

"I didn't think I'd have to run as fast as I did run," she said. "I was planning on going a lot slower."

Njoroge runs and trains full-time in Hebron, Kentucky when in the United States.

"I enjoyed the course although the weather was cold," said Njoroge, who weighs just 117 pounds. "I like how the people cheered as we ran."

Njoroge and Cheruiyot separated themselves from the pack just after the seven-mile mark of the race.

"The most important thing I did to win was to push and to use my experience," Njoroge said. "I trained [for this race] in the high altitude in Mexico and that helped me in the cold."

"At some points it was very nice, at some points it was very windy," said Cheruiyot, , who trains in the spring and summer months in Valparaiso, Indiana and added he wanted to come to Miami to run in the same city as "the famous basketball team [Miami Heat]."

Two-time Miami Marathon winner Luis Carlos Rivero Gonzalez elected to run the 13.1 half-marathon distance for the first time and finished fourth. Rivero Gonzalez, a Guatemalean, was the defending Miami Marathon champion and also won the 2013 Marathon.

Santa Ines Melchor Surquillo benefitted from having countrywoman Rocio Cantaro Rojas pushing her to the record.

"It was complicated at the beginning because it was cold, but after three miles, I felt warmer and I was able to find a comfortable pace," said Melchor Surquillo, who is generously listed at 5'0" tall. "After nine miles, I set a pace where no one else could reach me."

Hailing from Huancavelica, Peru, a region 140 miles south of Lima in the heart of the Andes mountain range, Melchor Surquillo enjoyed the Miami run and support of Latino fans who recognized the Peruvian flag on her bib.

"Everything was very pretty. I was thankful that people were cheering," she said. "There were a lot of Latin people saying, 'Let's go Peru! Let's go Ines!'"

"That brings great joy to all Peruvians, many which support myself and [Melchor Surquillo]," said Cantara Rojas, who said the difference between first and second was that she was not as far along in her training. "We are thankful and grateful for all their support and belief in us."

Melchor Surquillo parlayed the Half Marathon victory into preparation for a marathon she's running in April in Korea, as well as the Olympics, which she has already qualified for.

Meanwhile, the winning experience in the Marathon was conjuring up all kinds of affectionate emotions for the home city in which it was contested.

"I hope to one day move to Miami with my family," Slimani says. "It is my dream."

Kieffer was scheduled to fly back to frozen New York Sunday night.

"I'm hoping I don't make it back," she said as gingerly left the grounds.

2016 Miami Marathon And Half Marathon Results

Marathon Men
    1. Benazzouz Slimani, Italy, --,     2:24:56 
    2. Juan Manuel Martinez, Bogota, NY,     2:41:52 
    3. Winston Rheinbolt, Concord, NC,     2:42:03 
    4. Riveros Gonzalez Juan De Dios, Bogota, DC,     2:42:16 
    5. Jean-Marc Th, Repentigny, QC,     2:42:17 
    6. Miguel Angel Cifuentes, Bogota, DC,     2:42:56 
    7. Jimmy Calero, Miami, FL,     2:44:02 
    8. Yannick Rinne, Münster, MI,     2:44:44 
    9. Ranjit Banwait, Dublin,  D,     2:46:56 
   10. Robert Forte, Miami, FL,     2:47:54 
   11. Pedro Meraz, Wesley Chapel, FL,     2:49:10 
   12. Sergio Fernandez, Miami, FL,     2:49:23 
   13. Edward Nordstrom, Saint Paul, MN,     2:50:05 
   14. Alfredo L, Lima, LI,     2:50:23 
   15. Andres Rodriguez, La Guacima,  A,     2:51:25 
   16. Jefferson Fongtran, Pompano Beach, FL,     2:51:26 
   17. Carlos Manuel Melendez Miranda, Quesada, MD,     2:51:35 
   18. Andrew Keast, George Town,  4,     2:54:19 
   19. Miguel Rey Gonzalez, Bogota, --,     2:54:22 
   20. Dan Lemelman, Monroe Township, NJ,     2:55:20 
   21. Hector Villegas, Mexico City, DI,     2:55:23 
   22. Chris Choi, New York, NY,     2:56:25 
   23. Guillermo Udenhout, Paramaribo, PM,     2:57:15 
   24. Freddy Soto, Miami, FL,     2:57:40 
   25. Jose F Gonzalez, Miami, FL,     2:58:09 
   26. David Dawson, Ottawa, ON,     2:58:21 
   27. Ignacio Lopez-Mancisidor, Key Biscayne, FL,     2:58:33 
   28. Jose Mario  Canales, San Pedro Sula, CR,     2:58:36 
   29. Eduardo Jurcevic, Santos, SP,     2:58:44 
   30. Joseph Shayne, New York, NY,     2:58:45 
   31. Ryan Murphy, Miami, FL,     2:58:59 
   32. Wilson Shearin, Miami, FL,     2:59:10 
   33. Tom Elliott, Mexico D.F., DI,     2:59:19 
   34. Andres Urdaneta, Bogota, DC,     2:59:29 
   35. Brahim Boughemza, Noisy-Le-Sec, 93,     2:59:48 
   36. Amir Figueroa, New York, NY,     3:00:33 
   37. Jeronimo Abeille, Fort Myers, FL,     3:01:05 
   38. Felipe Rubio, Miami, FL,     3:01:15 
   39. Marco Rodriguez Salas, San Rafael, VA,     3:01:20 
   40. Benjamin Pignatone, Fort Myers, FL,     3:01:25 
   41. Marshall Thomas, Pittsburgh, PA,     3:01:26 
   42. Mark E Goldstein, Spring Branch, TX,     3:01:42 
   43. Fausto Fabricio Bolano, Ecuador,  G,     3:01:47 
   44. Colby Ricker, San Francisco, CA,     3:01:48 
   45. Trent Taylor, Cincinnati, OH,     3:01:51 
   46. Miguel Amesty, Tamarac, FL,     3:01:52 
   47. Jose Ignacio Norena Ochaita, Key Biscayne, FL,     3:02:02 
   48. Alejandro Solorzano, Miami, FL,     3:02:04 
   49. Ian White, Charlotte, NC,     3:02:06 
   50. Felipe Dereser, Bogota, CU,     3:02:08 
Marathon Women
    1. Allison Kieffer, New York, NY,     2:55:30 
    2. Jordania Diaz, Santo Domingo, --,     3:01:26 
    3. Becky Bader, Billerica, MA,     3:02:31 
    4. Sandra Morris Ferrand, Lima, LI,     3:04:27 
    5. Paola Kung, Santiago De Surco, LI,     3:04:54 
    6. Maureen Valladares, Guatemala, GU,     3:05:36 
    7. Sonia Manrique, Miami, FL,     3:07:11 
    8. Marlene Persson, Deerfield Beach, FL,     3:07:49 
    9. Karolina Wasniewska, Radom, MZ,     3:08:28 
   10. Joyce Silveira, Miami, FL,     3:08:52 
   11. Karen Sobrino, St Gallen, SG,     3:09:54 
   12. Mariajose Arias, Homestead, FL,     3:12:46 
   13. Tracy Greig, Owen Sound, ON,     3:13:15 
   14. Renee Humphreys Zike, Miami, FL,     3:14:57 
   15. Kaile Stewart, Miami, FL,     3:17:53 
   16. Jessica Abreu, Caracas,  A,     3:18:27 
   17. Tracey Matuszko, Jupiter, FL,     3:21:36 
   18. Sheila Marie Grangroth, Mount Pleasant, SC,     3:22:19 
   19. Carolina Ponce, Miami, FL,     3:23:44 
   20. Abby Petter, Louisville, KY,     3:26:11 
   21. Valentina Danna, Bogota, --,     3:26:14 
   22. Rana Sabbagh, Dearborn Heights, MI,     3:26:17 
   23. Jaimie Gosselin, Millbury, MA,     3:27:10 
   24. Zarah Dehnashi, Mississauga, ON,     3:28:02 
   25. Astrid Fossaa Viga, Hjelmeland, 11,     3:28:57 
   26. Tatiana Del Pilar Garcia Posada, Bogota, DC,     3:29:20 
   27. Jenny Castellanos, Bogota, DC,     3:29:28 
   28. Ana Mar Ram, Bogota, CU,     3:29:29 
   29. Kara Koppel-Sheesley, Warren, OH,     3:29:41 
   30. Nina Roswall, Copenhagen,  1,     3:29:42 
   31. Diana Alexandra Melo Reyes, Bogotá, DC,     3:30:20 
   32. Maura Short, Palm Beach Gardens, FL,     3:30:55 
   33. Ashley Clifford, Groveland, FL,     3:31:25 
   34. Helen Raithby, St Georges,  3,     3:31:41 
   35. Jenny Garcia, Hollywood, FL,     3:32:49 
   36. Andrea Torrico, New York, NY,     3:33:16 
   37. Catarina Djupsjo, Stockholm, AB,     3:33:18 
   38. Rene Harrod, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     3:33:44 
   39. Tiffany Chandler, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     3:34:01 
   40. Morgan Elizabeth, Mississauga, ON,     3:34:13 
   41. Paula Liliana, Bogota, CU,     3:34:21 
   42. Beatriz Umana, Mexico City, NY,     3:34:27 
   43. Elaine Hassan, Port Washington, NY,     3:34:41 
   44. Gisele Tlusty, Charlotte, NC,     3:36:05 
   45. Phyllis Riggins, Memphis, TN,     3:36:15 
   46. Lucy Hynes, Miami Shores, FL,     3:37:32 
   47. Yvonne Leippert, Coram, NY,     3:38:16 
   48. Carolina Jaramillo, Miami, FL,     3:38:17 
   49. Sara Medrano, Boca Raton, FL,     3:38:22 
   50. Nelly Becerra, CancÚN, RO,     3:38:33 
Half Marathon Men
    1. Stephen Njoroge, Hebron, KY,     1:05:09 
    2. Benson Cheruiyot, Valparaiso, IN,     1:05:26 
    3. Ty McCormack, Orlando, FL,     1:06:17 
    4. Luis Carlos Rivero Gonzalez, , --,     1:06:48 
    5. Argeo Cruz, Immokalee, FL,     1:07:18 
    6. Abel Villabueva Taipe, , --,     1:07:33 
    7. Jonny Wilson, Flagstaff, AZ,     1:09:05 
    8. Ethan Clary, Miami, FL,     1:10:32 
    9. Luis J Rivera, Aibonito, PR,     1:10:33 
   10. Luis Rivera, Aibonito, PR,     1:11:01 
   11. Santiago Ascenco, ,   ,     1:11:16 
   12. Nicolas Dalmasso, Vincennes, 94,     1:11:20 
   13. Nick Kaleel, Boynton Beach, FL,     1:11:32 
   14. Norbert Gutierrez, Hialeah, FL,     1:13:26 
   15. Elliott Mason, Miami, FL,     1:13:33 
   16. Bryan Huberty, Miami Beach, FL,     1:13:40 
   17. Scott Byers, Miami, FL,     1:14:02 
   18. Guillaume Laclergue, Toulouse, 31,     1:14:20 
   19. Russell Baker, North Miami Beach, FL,     1:14:22 
   20. Nicolas Feliciano, Bogota, DC,     1:15:01 
   21. Eddie Stenger, La Crosse, WI,     1:15:05 
   22. Stephen Benesh, North Ridgeville, OH,     1:15:51 
   23. Anis Chefirat, Poissy, 78,     1:16:34 
   24. Luis Sanchez, Paraiso,  C,     1:16:40 
   25. Ranieri Sales, Deerfield Beach, FL,     1:17:22 
   26. Eduard A. Torres Santiago, Aibonito, --,     1:17:28 
   27. Florent Poleyn, Paris, TX,     1:17:39 
   28. Ismael Gonzalez, Coamo, --,     1:17:48 
   29. Reynaldo Lazo, Uruca, SJ,     1:17:53 
   30. Brad Slavens, Atlanta, GA,     1:17:57 
   31. James Buchanan, Miami, FL,     1:18:08 
   32. Martin Killian, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     1:18:12 
   33. Jorge Palma, Miami, FL,     1:18:14 
   34. Hunter McCann, Treasure Island, FL,     1:18:36 
   35. Javier Cacacho, Guatemala, GU,     1:18:39 
   36. Carlos Restoy Salmeron, Terrassa,  B,     1:18:50 
   37. Guilherme Pereira, Doral, FL,     1:19:04 
   38. Esteban Zuniga, San Jose, SJ,     1:19:06 
   39. Lazaro Renato Rashid, Miami, FL,     1:19:14 
   40. Chris Van Smith, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     1:19:33 
   41. Oscar Montero, Bogota, DC,     1:19:34 
   42. Fernando Jimenez, Nezahualcoyotl, ME,     1:19:55 
   43. Mario Alberto Rivel Piedra, Turrialba, GA,     1:19:56 
   44. Alejandro Gutierrez, San Jose, SJ,     1:19:59 
   45. Jeff Watts, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     1:20:09 
   46. Daniel Garcia Maudes, Vitoria, VI,     1:20:29 
   47. Miguel Dones, Luquillo, PR,     1:20:43 
   48. Exavier Watson, Germantown, MD,     1:20:47 
   49. Jose Montalto, Miami, FL,     1:20:52 
   50. Christian Pe, San Jose, SJ,     1:20:56 
Half Marathon Women
    1. Santa Ines Melchor Surquillo, LI,     1:13:53 
    2. Rocio Cantara Rojas, , --,     1:14:17 
    3. Lindsey Scherf, High Falls, NY,     1:16:12 
    4. Michelle Lilienthal, Portland, MD,     1:17:34 
    5. Soranyi Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, --,     1:18:04 
    6. Lauren Rice, Minneapolis, MN,     1:22:06 
    7. Karen Bertasso, Albany, NY,     1:22:06 
    8. Carolina Natalia Zanuzzi, La Plata,  B,     1:22:43 
    9. Elizabeth Hernandez Reyes, Heredia, KY,     1:25:39 
   10. Jennifer Coyle, Miami, FL,     1:25:47 
   11. Kamilla Pontes, Sao Paulo, SP,     1:26:14 
   12. Henrietta Aitken, New York, NY,     1:26:35 
   13. Emilie Ney, Miami Beach, FL,     1:27:55 
   14. Lorna Vargas Fonseca, Santo Domingo,  H,     1:28:13 
   15. Ana Villegas, Miami, FL,     1:28:53 
   16. Kenya Goncalves, North Miami Beach, FL,     1:28:56 
   17. Mariana Brandao, Sao Paulo, SP,     1:29:13 
   18. Stephanie Godfrey, Hialeah, FL,     1:29:32 
   19. Laura Dibella, Fernandina Beach, FL,     1:29:33 
   20. Sylvanna Toledo, Brimfield, MA,     1:29:36 
   21. Larisa Sidorovich, Miami, FL,     1:29:45 
   22. Rachelle Ginsberg, Miami, FL,     1:29:47 
   23. Nathaly Mogollon, Miami, FL,     1:30:00 
   24. Maite Moscoso, Longwood, FL,     1:30:09 
   25. Bethany Benesh, North Ridgeville, OH,     1:30:18 
   26. Jennifer Nicholson, Palm Beach Gardens, FL,     1:30:32 
   27. Marina Peron, Toulouse, 31,     1:30:33 
   28. Andrea Harrah, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     1:30:48 
   29. Guadalupe Merlos, Miami, FL,     1:31:13 
   30. Theresa Ascheman, Miami, FL,     1:31:28 
   31. Elizabeth Gervais, Grand Haven, MI,     1:31:28 
   32. Tiffany Liff, Pompano Beach, FL,     1:31:31 
   33. Erin Chalat, Cape Elizabeth, ME,     1:31:39 
   34. C.C. Tellez, Philadelphia, PA,     1:31:41 
   35. Andrea De Los Angele  Ugalde, San Jose, SJ,     1:32:08 
   36. Patricia Franco, Belo Horizonte, MG,     1:32:22 
   37. Cynthia Hill, Etobicoke, ON,     1:32:26 
   38. Gina Figueroa Cisneros, Lima, X1,     1:32:39 
   39. Kimberly Quesada, La Union,  C,     1:33:16 
   40. Debbie Chmielowiec, South Wales, NY,     1:33:32 
   41. Layza Torres, San Juan, PR,     1:33:45 
   42. Evelyn Matousek, Washingtonville, NY,     1:34:01 
   43. Nadezhda Pavlova, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     1:34:22 
   44. Kristell Acosta, Doral, FL,     1:34:33 
   45. Clotilde Olivos, Lima, LI,     1:34:35 
   46. Dinia Valenzuela, Desamparados, NY,     1:34:35 
   47. Jana Bruns, Miami, FL,     1:34:39 
   48. Paola MÉNDEZ, BogotÁ, DC,     1:34:41 
   49. Sabrina Perna, Miami, FL,     1:34:57 
   50. Ashley Cevallos, Fort Lauderdale, FL,     1:35:15 

About the Miami Marathon

The Miami Marathon is Florida's elite distance race weekend with over 25,000 runners representing all 50 states and more than 80 countries converging on Miami and South Beach to experience one of the most unique courses in the world. The race has come a long way since 3,400 runners participated in the first Miami Marathon in 2003. Participants include elite runners, top age-group competitors, and many thousands who run for charity and to achieve their own personal goals. Together they enjoy the tropical views and the sounds of South Florida, with a diverse array of entertainment blended into the experience, and generate more than $50 million in total economic impact for the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County. Race route map can be found at:

About Life TimeSM, The Healthy Way of Life Company

Life Time is a privately held, comprehensive health and lifestyle company that offers a personalized and scientific approach to long-term health and wellness. Through its portfolio of distinctive resort-like destinations, athletic events and corporate health services, the Healthy Way of Life Company helps members achieve their goals everyday with the support of a team of dedicated professionals and an array of proprietary health assessments. As of January 17, 2016 the company operates 117 centers in 26 states and 34 major markets under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information is available at

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