Muange, Akor Win 7th Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay
Near-perfect racing conditions made for great action, fast times and a memorable experience for 5,500 finishers in Sunday’s Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay.
Stephen Muange originally from Kenya, led the event’s largest elite field ever, to win with a time of 1:03:37, the second fastest in the Big Sur Half Marathon’s seven years. A tight pack of elites, including Muange, Ezkyas Sisay (AZ), Crosby Freeman (CA), Sergio Reyes (CA), Josh Spiker (CA), and Moses Kororia (NM) tore through the first two miles in 9:57, a blistering pace that would hold steady. Near mile 3, Muange and Sisay pulled away from the other hopefuls, opening a 26 second lead by mile 4. On the event’s steepest hill rising into downtown Pacific Grove, Muange powered ahead to put away Sisay, his final challenger. A 4:38 fifth mile ended any questions about the winner of this year’s event. As Muange continued his solo race, Sergio Reyes slowly closed in on Sisay, eventually setting up an all out sprint to the finish for second place. Sisay, a native Ethiopian who now trains in Flagstaff, AZ, finished second in 1:05:25 and Reyes took third one second later in 1:05:26. Moses Kororia, exhausted from a 26 hour flight from Kenya, held on for fourth in 1:06:32 and Crosby Freeman placed fifth in 1:06:43.
The female competition was a four woman battle until the turnaround point just prior to mile 8. Mary Akor (CA), the 2005 Big Sur International Marathon champion, Lauren Johnson (OR), Fiona Docherty (CO), and Peris Chumba (CO) jostled for position while drafting behind some fast male runners. Akor, originally from Nigeria, made her move just past the turnaround and pulled away to win by almost one minute in 1:15:55. Docherty, a native New Zealander, who now trains in Boulder, CO with running legend Steve Jones, finished second in 1:16:37. Lauren Johnson moved up one spot from last years fourth place finish to take third in 1:17:04. Peris Chumba, a Kenyan who now trains in Aurora, CO took fourth in 1:17:47. Former Carmel, CA resident (now of San Francisco, CA) Brooke Wells finished fifth in 1:19:24.
In the Master’s race, Kevin Sheehy of Boise, ID, dominated the 40 and older crowd with a new Masters course record of 1:10:29. This mark shattered Fred Arapmayiek’s 2006 record of 1:12:00 by over a minute and a half. Todd Booth of Santa Barbara, CA, was second Master with a time of 1:14:22 and four time Masters champion Jeff Magallanes from Seaside placed third in 1:16:55.
Magdalena Visser and Mary Coordt waged a good battle for the women’s Master’s crown with Visser of San Francisco, CA, taking the title in a time of 1:20:13. Coordt (Elk Grove, CA), a two time Big Sur International Marathon champion, who recently turned 40, took second in 1:20:27. Melinda Dinapoli of Saratoga, CA, was the third Master in a time of 1:27:07.
With a backdrop of clear skies, crashing waves along the Pacific shoreline and a cool, but sunny morning, the day was picture perfect. The Eighth Presentation will take place on November 14, 2010 with registration opening on April 1, 2010.
COMPLETE RESULTS ARE AVAILABLE AT: http://www.bigsurhalfmarathon.org/results.htm