With only 13 athletes, the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego Marathon women’s elite field may be small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality.
Eastern Europe always sends a strong contingent of female elites to compete in the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego Marathon, and this year is no exception, with four Russians and a Czech among the top 10 contenders. But you can never count out the East Africans, and there is one exciting American dark horse to watch for.
Heather Fuhr (Canada) – Bib #F11
Best known as the 1997 Hawaii Ironman World Champion, Canadian-born American resident Heather Fuhr could have been a world-class runner if she had chosen to be. And at age 41, she has decided to see how she fares against some of the world’s best in a marathon that is not preceded by a 112-mile bike race.
Melina Glusac – (USA) – Bib #F9
Thirty-three-year-old Milena Glusac is on the comeback trail after having all but disappeared from the racing scene after 2003. Her best year came in 2001, when she won U.S. national championships in the 20K, half-marathon and 25K. She set her marathon personal best of 2:31:14 the following year.
Yuliya Gromova (Russia)- Bib #F1
One of two major favorites to win the 2009 Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego Marathon is last year’s winner, Russia’s Yuliya Gromova, who set a PR of 2:28:23 with her victory. Gromova is run one marathon already this year, in Houston, where she finished fourth.
Hellen Kimutai (Kenya) – Bib #F2
Kenya’s Hellen Kimutai is the other strong favorite to win Sunday’s race. She won the 2007 Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego Marathon and has a PR of 2:25:52, set in Hamburg in 2003.
Albina Mayorova (Russia) – #F4
The fastest marathon PR in this year’s women’s elite field (after the late withdrawal of Ethiopia’s Elfenesh Alemu) belongs to Russia’s Albina Mayorova. She set her mark of 2:25:35 at Chicago in 2003.
Irina Permitina (Russia) – Bib #F8
Russian’s women’s runners have a history of peaking late in life, so you can’t discount Irina Permitina’s chances despite her age of 41 years. She set her marathon PR of 2:26:51 just three years ago.