Former University of Oregon standout wins his debut half marathon and qualifies for 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon.
SEATTLE — With most eyes 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 this morning at the third annual Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon benefiting the American Cancer Society.
Under ideal running conditions, more than 26,000 entrants gathered in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila for the 7 AM start. Scott MacPherson of Austin, Texas, who won Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio last year, pushed the first miles with Christian Hesch of Hollywood, Calif. 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 with a time of 1 hour, 3 minutes and 51 seconds. MacPherson finished in 1:03:53 and Hesch came in third at 1:04:32. With their sub-65 minute performance, all three men qualified for the 2012 U.S. Marathon Olympic 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 last 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 with a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 51 seconds.
“I know I had to make my move to win the race,” said Ndambuki, who finished third 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 with a time of 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.”
Results — Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon
Saturday, June 25, 2011
1. Jonathan Ndambuki, 34, Kenya, 2:24:51, $1,000
2. Teshome Kokebe, 29, (ETH) Lynnwood, WA, 2:27:13, $500
3. Darryl Brown, 28, Exton, PA, 2:32:49, $250
1. Sheila Croft, 36, Redmond, WA, 2:50:21, $1,000
2. Alexandra Blake, 28, Tucson, AZ, 2:52:32, $500
3. Heather Lieberg, 32, Helena, MT, 2:56:46, $250
Men’s Half Marathon
1. Carlos Trujillo, 25, Middleton, ID, 1:03:51, $1,000
2. Scott MacPherson, 24, Austin, TX, 1:03:53, $500
3. Christian Hesch, 32, Hollywood, LA, 1:04:32, $250
Women’s Half Marathon
1. Mattie Suver, 23, Seattle, WA, 1:15:40, $1,000
2. Caroline White, 26, Klamath Falls, OR, 1:15:50, $500
3. Kelly Calway, 26, Manitou Springs, CO, 1:18:34, $250