-- Marathon Running Information, Coaching and Advice from Coach Joe English

Racing — Rock N Roll San Diego 2012 to Feature Top Elites

running-advice-bugSAN DIEGO, Calif. — June 1, 2012 – Don’t confuse the Robert Cheruiyot who won the 2010 Boston Marathon with the Robert Cheruiyot, who won the Boston Marathon in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The first and last names are the same, but that’s one of the few resemblances. The more recent Boston winner is 23, the other is 32. The 2010 winner’s middle name is Kiprono, the other’s is Kipkoech. The younger Cheruiyot will be heading a strong professional field for Sunday’s 15th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. The other Cheruiyot will not be competing.

Ryan Hall will be among Half Marathon Runners @ 2012 San Diego Rock N Roll

On top of one of the strongest marathon fields in memory at Rock N Roll San Diego, the Half Marathon will feature two of America’s top runners in their final preparations for the upcoming 2012 Olympics. Both Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi will be gunning for a win Sunday as they test their fitness for the games.

Back to the Cheruiyots. “We are not related,” Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot said on Friday for the other Boston winning Cheruiyot.. “I’m not the one who won Boston four times. But now I have done it and I’m very happy to have done it.” Both Cheruiyots live in Kenya, but a great distance apart. The older one lives in Nairobi, the younger in the village of Sarucha.

When Kiprono returned to his little township two years ago after his Boston triumph, he was greeted like a conquering hero. He estimstes that about 20,000 people from villages all around his home base turned out to greet him and threw him a celebatory party. They also presented him with five cows, which he gave to his mother. Should he win in San Diego on Sunday, the celebration won’t be as large, but it will be significant, he said.

Cheruiyot will be fighting some difficult odds in his San Diego debut. One, he still is recovering from a right hip injury that prevented him from running Boston again in April. Secondly, his preparation for the race was disrupted when his luggage was misplaced on the long trip from Nairobi through Amsterdam and Atlanta to San Diego, preventing him from doing his usual workout Friday morning.

Still, he is confident. “I don’t want to say I will win, but I will do my best to improve my time,” he said. “If we (the other top runners in the field) run together, maybe we can run 2:07. If the humidity is good, we can run good. If not, I will do my best.”

Cheruiyot’s best marathon time is 2:05:52 from his Boston victory, a clocking that broke the course record at the time. He ran each of his first four marathons in 2:07:30 or better. He made his international marathon debut in 2008 at Frankfurt, Germany, and won in a course record 2:07:21.

Sunday’s entrants include Pastrick Ivuti of Kenya, a winner at Chicago, Prague and Honolulu, with a best time of 2:07:46; William Kipsang of Kenya, a winner at Rotterdam with a PR of 2:05:49; and Ambesse Tolosa of Ethiopia, the San Diego champion in 2006. The top American is Jeffrey Eggleston of Flagstaff, Ariz., winner of the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon.

Heading the women’s marathon field are Azelosh Woldeslasse of Ethiopia, who has a best of 2:25:23; Alevtiva Ivanova of Russia, a winner of the Nagano (Japan) Marathon; and Woynishet Garma of Ethiopia, last year’s Honolulu champion. Topping the U.S. list is Ashley Grosse of Palo Alto, Calif.

Famous for lining race routes with live bands and cheerleaders, the original Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon will celebrate its 15th birthday on Sunday, June 3, 2012. The 2012 event will feature the men’s 1-2 finishers from the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall, competing in the same event less than two months before the London Games.

“Once they qualified for the Olympic team, I knew they would be focusing on London,” said Matt Turnbull, elite athlete recruiter who expects two a highly competitive races Sunday even though the big prize ahead is London. “We identified a couple of the runners who I knew would fit our race. It was good timing. The half-marathon is good timing for their full marathon and San Diego fits in that category. Of course, these guys have London in mind, but knowing their personalities, they don’t like to get beat.”

The Eritrean-born Keflezighi, 37, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1998, is the defending half-marathon champion, outdueling 4-time London Marathon champion Martin Lel of Kenyan, who finished second in London this year, to win his first race in his adopted hometown. Hall, the first American to break the one-hour barrier on a record standard half-marathon course and the U.S. record-holder at 59 minutes, 43 seconds set in 2007, also is anxiously looking forward to the competition.

“Being a native California boy, I am stoked to have the opportunity to race in my backyard at this year’s San Diego Half-Marathon,” Hall, 29, said. “Having lived and trained in San Diego before, I’m excited to finally race there having seen the race in years past. This year’s race fits perfectly with my preparations for this summer’s Olympic Games. It will serve as my all-important, last race before the Games. I’m looking at this opportunity as one last chance to learn and tweak my training accordingly before running in what I consider to be the biggest race of my life.”

Meanwhile, Kim Smith will be the front-runner in the women’s half-marathon. Smith is a New Zealand Olympian and owner of the fastest women’s half-marathon ever run in the United States, 1:07:11 set last year at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia.

Source: Competitor Group
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