Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Itati, Asiba Win 2007 Under Armour Baltimore Marathon
BALTIMORE - (October 13, 2007) - John Itati and Gladys Asiba have much in common, besides the fact that they both were winners Saturday at the seventh Under Armour Baltimore Marathon.
Both are Kenyans who divide their training time between Kenya and Norristown, Pa. Both are coached by Mostafa El-Nechchadi and both are represented by agent Lisa Buster.
Both until recently had been dogged by a persistent injury, sore knees for Itati and plantar fascia irritation for Asiba.
They even shared a similar race strategy, hanging back over the first 13 miles past the Inner Harbor before leaving the field of 2,538 finishers in their dust over the last seven miles of the hilly tour through Charm City.
Itati, the 2004 race champion and course record-holder, coasted home in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 24 seconds, a ways off his event record 2:14:51 set in 2004. His strong move in the 20th mile as he rounded beautiful Lake Montebello sealed his second Baltimore title and an $18,000 first prize.
"After I broke away, I knew anything can happen and I wasn't sure who was behind so I kept looking back," said Itati, a former world class miler who said his focus now is on the marathon. "At 20 miles, I knew I was going to win."
His coach El-Nechchadi was happy with Itati's performance.
"We trained for this for a while, three months," said El-Nechchadi, who said Itati's knees became sore after his 2004 win here which deterred them from racing another marathon. "We put this as the main goal. His last workout last week [2000 meter repeats], he was great so I knew he would win."
So far this year, Itati said, the knees have been working just fine.
The closest competitor behind 33-year-old Itati was 31-year-old Kenyan Josphat Ndeti, over 3 minutes back. If the name sounds familiar, it could be that one of his brothers is three-time (1993-1995) Boston Marathon champion Cosmas Ndeti.
But it was another brother who was most on Ndeti's mind during the past week and certainly throughout the marathon. He said his brother Nicholas died Tuesday of malaria and was to be buried today. Ndeti, who trains in Sante Fe, opted to race Baltimore rather than go back to Kenya for the funeral because he said his brother would have wanted him to run.
"When I finished, I cried," offered Ndeti, who moved into second place for good at 22 miles and earned $8000 for his runner-up effort.
Like Itati, the 30-year-old Asiba had not been racing well recently as she worked herself back into shape. But she had no problems with the plantar as she hung back through a first half 1:18, then broke up a pack of Europeans and ran an even second half to finish in 2:36:27.
"It was hilly, but it was not tough for me because back in Kenya I train in the hills," said 4-foot 11, 103-pound Asiba, who placed 10th overall behind nine men although she was a minute shy of her personal best set at New York City in 2003.
The $18,000 prize money will come in handy as she prepares a February wedding in Kenya.
Anastasiya Padalinskaya of Belarus was the last runner Asiba shed, at 21 miles, ending in 2:37:21 and earning $8000. Defending champion 43-year-old Rima Dubovik of the Ukraine was third in 2:38:43, good for $4000.
Ethiopians Girma Tola (1:04:27) and Belainesh Zemedkun (1:14:45) won their respective races in the accompanying half-marathon.
7th Under Armour Baltimore Marathon
Masters MEN (40+)
Masters WOMEN (40+)
Full race results at: TheBaltimoreMarathon.com