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Simon Wangai, Olena Shurkhno Pick Up $17,500 at Country Music Marathon
Former NFL Running Back Eddie George Runs 2:02 Half Marathon
Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 28, 2007) - With cool temperatures and calm winds, the eighth annual Country Music Marathon crowned two new champions in the men's and women's races. First across the finish line outside LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, was 28-year-old Simon Wangai from Kenya, who covered the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 52 seconds. Olena Shurkhno, 29 from the Ukraine won the women's race in 2:37:52.

The pace of the men's race was set early by 28-year-old Oleg Kulkov from Russia, along with Ukrainians Yuriy Hychun, 30 and Evgeni Bozhko, 31. They held their narrow lead through mile five before the trailing pack closed the gap.

Nearly the entire men's field jockeyed for position over miles five through nine. Past winners Jomo Kororia, 26, and Luke Kibet, 33, moved in to the lead, pushing the pace towards mile 13. At the half-marathon, the men were on pace to run in a 2:16:30 marathon time.

At mile 18, Kenyans Simon Wangai, 28, and Laban Moiben, 24, broke away from the pack, turning in the first sub five-minute mile of the race (4:59). Moiben gradually took control and turned in the fastest mile split of the race at mile 21 (4:49), widening his lead to 11 seconds.

As Wangai entered Nashville's Shelby Park at approximately mile 22, he had victory comfortably in hand.

"I looked back and nobody was coming," Wangai said after his win. "I thought this could be mine. Next year, I will come back to defend my title."

In the women's race, Ethiopians Hirut Legesse, 25, and Alem Ashebir, 24, lead early. By mile six, the race came under European control with Svetlana Pretot, 35, from France, Olena Shurkhno, 29, from the Ukraine and Iraida Pudovkina, 25, from Russia in the lead.

Approaching the half-marathon mark, Shurkhno and Pretot took control of the pace. Pretot was comfortable enough with the pair's lead that she smiled and waved to one of the live bands along the course, while Shurkhno remained focused on the race. Shurkhno's "focus" would pay off in the end.

After passing through the half-marathon, running a 2:34:45 marathon pace, Pretot worked to increase her lead. Near mile 19, Pretot had opened up an approximate 24-second lead ahead of Shurkhno, glancing back inside Bicentennial Mall to admire her handy work.

At mile 21, the women were on 2:36:00 marathon pace and Shurkhno remained steady behind Pretot.

Shurkhno took the lead at mile 23 and never looked back. She crossed the finish line 37 seconds ahead of second place Pretot.

"She ran the race as she had planned," said Shurkhno's agent Anbrey Baranov. "I was very confident in the hills. I was trying to be patient." Baranov translated for Shurkhno.

Former NFL running back with the Tennessee Titans, Eddie George, completed his first half-marathon in 2:02:56 alongside his friend and training partner Morris Jamison. The two were pleased to beat their 2:10:00 goal.

"I didn't want to go out to fast, I wanted to enjoy the run," George said. "The encouragement from the people in the race was great."

George who was recently recruited by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen to join TeamTN and lead the GetFitTN campaign said he hopes to speak through action and continue to encourage people to lead healthy lives.

Duane Morrow, 39, from Hoschton, Ga. won the wheelchair invitational race in 2:22:07.

Johnathan Eckberg, 26 and Victoria Crisp, 54, both from Nashville, were the top local male and female finishers in times of 2:28:44 and 3:17:18 respectively.

In her marathon victory, Crisp also claimed the top spot in the masters division, and Stephen Langat, 45, from Kenya won the men's masters division in 2:29:25.

Claudia Colita of Fayetteville, Ga. set a course record and won the women's half-marathon race in 1:16:14. William Weaver, 23, from Nashville won the men's half-marathon in 1:09:21.

The Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon welcomed more than 31,500 runners and walkers to Music City this year. For more information, please visit www. CMMarathon.com, or call 800-311-1255.

2007 Country Music Marathon Prize Schedule

Place, Name, Country, Time, Money
1) Simon Wangui, 28, KEN, 2:13:52, $17,500
2) Laban Moiben, 24, KEN, 2:15:10, $8,000
3) Jomo Kororia, 26, KEN, 2:15:18, $4,000
4) Oleg Kulkov, 28, RUS, 2:15:34, $2,000
5) Philip Tanui, 31, KEN, 2:16:32$1,250

1) Olena Shurkhno, 29, UKR, 2:37:52, $17,500
2) Svetlana Pretot, 35, FRA, 2:38:29, $8,000
3) Iraida Pudovkina, 25, RUS, 2:40:17, $4,000
4) Alem Ashebir, 24, ETH, 2:44:08, $2,000
5) Tatiana Mironova, 37, RUS, 2:44:36, $1,200

1) Johnathan Eckberg, 26, Nashville, 2:28:44, $1,000
2) Kevin Hill, 30, Nashville, 2:29:27, $500

1) Victoria Crisp, 54, Nashville, 3:17:18, $1,000
2) Lisa Kirkham, 40, Nashville, 3:27:10, $500

1) Johnathan Eckberg, 26, Nashville, 2:28:44, $1,000
2) Kevin Hill, 30, Nashville, 2:29:27, $500

1) Victoria Crisp, 54   Nashville, 3:17:18, $1,000
2) Lisa Kirkham, 40, Nashville, 3:27:10, $500

Duane Morrow, 39, Hoschton, Ga., 2:22:07, $500

Stephen Langat, 45, Kenya, 2:29:25, $500

Victoria Crisp, 54, Nashville, 3:17:18, $500

Images courtesy of ASIphoto.com
Female Champion

Male Champion

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