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Saturday, 08 November 2014 00:00

Increased Prize Purse and Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifying Bonus at Half Marathon on Monterey Bay

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2013 Champion, Jacob Chemtai, returning to defend title; Guor Marial, the “Man Without a Country,” also competing - MONTEREY, Calif. -   Organizers of the Half Marathon on Monterey Bay have upped the ante to draw some of the country’s fastest half marathoners.  A $20,000 prize purse is being awarded to the top eight male and female runners along with bonuses for the top three American runners. The race, to be held on Sunday, November 16 in Monterey, CA, also offers a new $500 bonus to any runner who qualifies for the US Olympic Marathon Trials with a time of sub-1:05 for men and sub-1:15 for women.

               The 2013 defending champion, Jacob Chemtai, and runner-up, Nelson Oyugi, both standouts from the AmeriKenyan Running Club, are returning to this year’s competition.  They will be challenged by Benson Cheriuyot, 2nd place finisher in 2011 and 5th last year. All will be attempting to break the course record of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 32 seconds, (set by Ian Dobson in 2006), which will pay an additional bonus of $1,000.

               A recent addition to the men’s roster includes Guor Marial, a South Sudanese track and field athlete.  Marial competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics as the “man without a country” since South Sudan did not have a recognized National Olympic Committee.  He was one of four athletes competing under the Olympic flag rather than that of an individual country.  Marial has a marathon PR of 2:12:55.

The fastest US runner set to challenge the Africans includes Fernando Cabada of Fresno, CA, 4th here last year. Also in this year’s field are the top two masters from last year (men 40-and-over), Hector Hernandez and Tony Torres, and two former Big Sur International Marathon winners, Adam Roach and Jesus Campos. Roach will be pacing female runners attempting to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, running a sub-1:15 pace (a 5:43 pace-per-mile).

               In the women’s field, 2013 Champion Sarah Kiptoo will be returning to defend her title.  Kiptoo, also a member of the Amerikenyan Running Club based in Santa Fe, NM, holds the second fastest Half Marathon on Monterey Bay course time for women  (1:11:21).  The time to beat is 1:09:43 set by Belainesh Gebre in 2010.

Kiptoo will be challenged by at least seven runners who could each take the title including Lindsey Scherf who ran 1:11:46 at the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Diego in May and Rosa Chacha, a 2012 Olympic Marathon runner for her native Ecuador.  Chaca has a half marathon best of 1:13:45.

This year’s female field also boasts a handful of world class 5,000 and 10,000-meter runners who are moving up to the half marathon distance in hopes of running under 1:15, including Kara Foster from Pennsylvania and Kristen Zaitz from Colorado. Other fast female athletes include Jenna Boren from Menlo Park, CA; Morgan Gonzalez from Mammoth Lakes, CA; Megan Rolland from Emmett, ID; Lilian Marilta, a Kenyan who trains in Kentucky; Brooke Wells, a Carmel High School graduate; and Faviola Sarai Perex Igari, a Mexican runner currently being trained by Olympian and local runner Blake Russell.

               Spectators at the 12th Presentation of the Half Marathon on Monterey Bay should look for the men to keep the pace near 4:45 per mile through the streets of Monterey and gentle hills of Pacific Grove with the top women close behind, clipping off miles right at 5:30 per mile pace.

               The Half Marathon on Monterey Bay is managed by the Big Sur International Marathon, a non-profit race organization that coordinates the annual Big Sur Marathon and ancillary events, plus a 5K/2K Run in the Name of Love race and the JUST RUN youth fitness program. For more information on the Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, go to www.bigsurhalfmarathon.org

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