Ilsa Paulson Wins 2010 Country Music Marathon

Colombians take top two spots in men’s race, new course record for women’s half marathon

Nashville, TN – April 24, 2010 – For the first time in its 11 year history, an American has won the Country Music Marathon. Ilsa Paulson, of New York City, was the first woman to break the tape on the 26.2-mile course with a time of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 41 seconds. For images of the day, click here.

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The event drew over 36,000 entrants.

Paulson had previously been scheduled to run in Sunday’s Saint Anthony Marathon in Padua, Italy. The 2009 USA Women’s Marathon Champion changed plans after the eruption in Iceland forced flight delays and cancellations throughout Europe.

“I was scheduled to run Los Angeles but I got sick, and then Italy, but I couldn’t travel with the volcano, so I guess the third time was the charm,” said Paulson. “I just enjoy running, so as long as I’m physically able to get out the door, then I view it as a wonderful blessing and opportunity.”

The men’s champion, 31-year-old William Najanjo of Colombia, was neck and neck with countryman Juan Carlos Cardona until the last leg of the race, when he sprinted ahead to victory with a time of 2:15:38. Westly Keating of Edinburg, Texas was the top American, finishing sixth overall in 2:20:46.

“This year, I run very fast. It’s my second experience here,” said Najanjo, who finished fifth at the Nashville race last year. “I won, and I am very happy.”

The women’s half marathon winner Sharon Thompson of Franklin, TN was in a bathroom and caught off-guard by the race’s early start. Despite the delay, she won with a time of 1:15:45 in her debut half marathon, a new course record.

“I didn’t have time to warm up and just kind of saw the crowd leave, and I was supposed to be in that crowd,” said Thompson, a two-time Olympic trials qualifier for 10,000m. “I hopped over two fences and just started running really fast to catch up with the group. So I probably went out too hard.”

Josh Cox, the 50k American Record Holder, won the men’s half-marathon in 1:06:46.

The 12th Annual Country Music Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2011.

Marathon Men

1. William Najanjo, 31, Columbia, 2:15:38, $5,000

2. Juan Carlos Cardona, 35, Columbia, 2:15:50, $3,000

Marathon Women

1. Ilsa Paulson, 21, New York City, 2:33:39, $5,000

2. Serkalem Abrha, 22, Ethiopia, 2:35:19, $3,000

For complete results, go the to the results page by clicking here.

For images from recent Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon events, click on the links below:

Rock ‘N’ Roll Dallas

Rock ‘N’ Roll Mardi Gras (New Orleans)


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