Keflezighi, Kastor Rock San Jose

Meb Keflezighi celebrates winning his third straight Dodge Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Olympic medalists cruise to victory at Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.

Meb Keflezighi celebrates winning his third straight Dodge Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon. Photo: PhotoRun.net

San Jose, Calif. – On a perfect autumn morning in the Bay Area, Olympic medalists Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor cruised to victory at the 2011 Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. Keflezighi delighted a cheering crowd of well-wishers along the 13.1-mile route by winning handily in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 17 seconds–over two minutes ahead of runner-up Giliat Ghebray (1:03:38) from Union City.

Photo Gallery: Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon–Elite Race

Keflezighi led a lead pack of five runners through an opening mile of 4:35. At mile 3 the 204 Olympic Marathon silver medalist picked up the pace, running a series of sub-4:40 miles to open up a sizable lead on the rest of the field, one he held all the way to the finish line.

“We ran a pretty quick first mile of 4:35 and then after that 4:50 and after that I picked it up,” said Keflezighi, who won for the third straight time in San Jose. “I was making good pace. It is kind of tough to run on your own sometimes, but I am happy to be here and get a good tuneup. It couldn’t have any better. A lot people were cheering ‘Go Meb’ and it was just awesome. My Mom is here and my brother lives here, a lot of the people are aware of what I have done and it’s nice to have the course coming back with the crowd. Running back the energy was awesome.”

It paid off in a solid tune up for Keflezighi, who also won the 2009 New York City Marathon–the first American do so in 27 years.

“I run to win, which means challenge myself and don’t hold back. It was good today,” added Keflezighi, who is preparing for the ING New York Marathon in November. “I feel like I gave my best effort to be able to keep going, stay healthy and finish strong. People have different goals and different aspirations to go and with 10,000 out here running it’s awesome, and it’s awesome to see people fit and strong and it was a beautiful California weather day.”

Deena Kastor runs strong to a 1:12:23 finish. Photo: PhotoRun.net

As much as the spectators enjoyed Keflezighi’s victory, they also were treated to a comeback performance from Deena Kastor, the only American woman to ever break 2:20 in the marathon, who won the women’s race in 1:12:23.

“It was just awesome,” said Kastor, who is coming back from maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter, Piper, in February. “San Jose really came out and showed their true colors today–the communities that we ran through, the neighborhoods everyone came out in their front yards cheering on all of us runners. It was really great to have everyone out here supporting the race this morning.”

She continued: “I thought I could run around 1:11 or 1:12 today and I felt good out there. It didn’t take too much out of me so it will be good to get back into training this week and use this as a stepping stone for the Olympic Trials in January. The running community is really special in that we can all be a part of this together–from the elite runners trying to post qualifying times for the Olympic Trials to the people just out enjoying the bands. We all know how to have a good time out there and San Jose was a wonderful host for the event.”

One of California’s fastest road races, the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon is the site of both the men’s and women’s half marathon records for the State of California.

Runners from all 50 states and 14 countries participated in this morning’s race, including a group of California’s fastest runners, with ten athletes qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials in January. Three-time Super Bowl Champion and race founder Roger Craig completed his sixth straight San Jose race, along with San Jose resident and soccer star Brandi Chastain.

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2011 Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon Results

Top-5 Men

1. Meb Keflezighi, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:02:17

2. Giliat Ghebray, Union City, CA, 1:03:38

3. Sergio Reyes, Palmdale, CA, 1:04:20

4. Moses Waweru, Sun Prairie, WI, 1:04:31

5. Daniel Tapia, Castroville, CA, 1:04:41

Top-5 Women

1. Deena Kastor, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:12:23

2. Clara Peterson, San Anselmo, CA, 1:15:23

3. Brooke Wells, San Francisco, 1:16:15

4. Julia Mallon, Santa Rosa, CA, 1:17:21

5. Jessica Brothers, San Marcos, CA, 1:18:40

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