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Returning and Past Champions Lead Professional Elite Race at Eighth Annual Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon
Race set to host largest participant field in event history with nearly 30,000 runners and walkers on race day

Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (April 23 2007) - Past champions Luke Kibet and Jomo Kororia from Kenya, along with returning women's champion Tatiana Mironova from Russia lead a professional elite field of 27 athletes at the eighth annual Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, April 28, 2007. The race is set to host its largest participant field to date composed of nearly 30,000 runners and walkers from around the world in the marathon and half-marathon combined.

Competition will be fierce as 18 men battle for five prize money positions. With three Country Music Marathon titles between them, Kibet, 33, and Kororia, 26, both hope to use course experience to their advantage. Kibet covered the 26.2-mile course en route to his 2004 and '00 victories in times of 2:14:11 and 2:12:55 respectively. Kororia broke the tape in 2003 in a time of 2:12:56.

Both Kenyans will be challenged by Ethiopian Fekadu Degefu, 31, who plans to better his 2006 bronze medal performance in Nashville. Degefu is joined by countryman and training partner Belay Welasha, 38. Both men train in the Entoto hills above Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Athletes from Eastern Europe and South America frequent this race to utilize their strength on the undulating Country Music Marathon course. To date, no athletes from either region have been successful against the Kenyan and Ethiopian dominance on the men's side, but Ukrainians Yuriy Hychun, 30, and Evgeni Bozhko, 31, and Columbians Hugo Jimenez, 32, Juan Cardona, 32, hope to change this trend in 2007.

Between the Ukrainians and Columbians, Hychun has the strongest finish in Nashville. With victory in sight during the 2005 race, Hychun was left with bronze after his commanding lead was diminished in the final miles by hard charging Nephat Kinyanjui and Luke Kibet, who finished one and two respectively.

On the women's side, Mironova, now 37, bettered her 2005 third-place finish in Nashville last year, running to victory after she used a strong surge over the final two miles, making up a 40-second deficit, to pull away from Kenyan Anne Jelegat and cross the finish line alone.

This Saturday, Mironova will defend her title against a women's field that includes 29-year-old Abebe Tola of Ethiopia. Tola recently finished third at the L.A. Marathon (2:45:16) and holds a personal best time of 2:29:54. Svetlana Pretot, 35, from France, who won the 2006 Nant Marathon, will also match strides with her former Russian country woman.

Ukranian Olena Shurkhno, 35, who set a course record in her 2006 victory at the Munster Marathon in Germany (2:37:50), and Ethiopians Alem Ashebir, 24, and Hirut Legesse, 25, are all expected to push the pace on race day.

Americans Suzy Schumacher, 37, from Arizona and Jenny DeWeese from North Carolina represent America's bid.

For more information on the Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon, please visit www.CMMarathon.com. Registration for the marathon will be open at the Health & Fitness Expo on Thurs. April 26 and 27 at the Nashville Convention Center. Registration for the half-marathon is closed and no longer accepting participants.

Saturn SKY to Pace the Race
The Saturn SKY is the official vehicle of the 2007 Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon and will lead the professional athletes as they race for victory. The SKY will also be on display at the Health & Fitness Expo and "Finish Line Festival." To discover Saturn, please visit your local Saturn retailer or www.Saturn.com

Prize Schedule
Place   Men             Women
1       $17,500 $17,500
2       $8,000   $8,000
3       $4,000   $4,000
4       $2,000  $2,000
5       $1,250  $1,250

First man under 2:11:00 - $10,000       First woman under 2:29:00 - $10,000
First man under 2:10:00 - $10,000       First woman under 2:28:00 - $10,000
These are cumulative

*All men finishing 6th or lower running under 2:19:00 -- $1,000
*All women finishing 6th or lower running under 2:40:00 -- $1,000

First man - $1,000      First woman - $1,000
Second man - $500       Second woman - $500

First man - $1,000      First woman - $1,000
Second man - $500       Second woman - $500

First man under 2:30:00 - $500 First woman under 3:00:00 -$500

First man First Woman - $500
. Prize money is offered in the marathon only.

As of April 23, 2007

1) Jomo Kororia, 26, KEN, 2:11:07, 1st 2003 Country Music Marathon, 4th 2006 Country Music Marathon
2) Luke Kibet, 33, KEN, 2:10:18, 1st 2004, 2nd 2005 & 3rd 2003 Country Music Mar.
3) Fekadu Degefu, 31, ETH, 2:12:24, 3rd 2006 Country Music Marathon, 2nd 2007 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
4) Belay Welasha, 38, ETH, 2:10:57, 4th 2006 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
5) Yuriy Hychun, 30, UKR, 2:14:23, 3rd 2005 Country Music Marathon, 5th 2006 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
6) Barnabas Rutto, 30, KEN, 2:10:53, 1st 2006 Hangzhou Marathon
7) Thomas Kamau, 28, KEN, 2:17:17, 4th 2004 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon
8) Simon Wangui, 28, KEN, 2:10:35, 3rd 2006 LA Marathon, 8th 2006 Bay to Breakers
9) Evgeni Bozhko, 31, UKR, 2:13:13, 2nd 2006 Dallas White Rock Marathon
10) Hugo Jimenez, 32, COL, 2:15:24, 9th 2006 Country Music Marathon, 8th 2004 Country Music Marathon
11) Juan Cardona, 32, COL, 2:14:30, 5th 2006 Country Music Marathon, 2nd 2007 ING Miami Marathon
12) Luis Fonseca, 30, VEN, 2:11:49, 2007 San Sebastian Half, 2006 Nat. 5,000m Champion
13) Constantino Leon, 33, PER, 2:29:22, 5th 2007 Carerra International Pilsen 10k
14) Halefom Abebe, 25, ETH, 2:12:52, 2nd 2005 Treviso Marathon, 8th 2007 Dubai Marathon
15) Oleg Kulkov, 28, RUS, 2:17:16, 3rd 2006 Dresden Marathon
16) Urgessa Woyessa, 24, ETH, 2:20:16, 3rd 2006 Broad Street 10 Mile
17) Philip Tanui, 3, KEN, 2:09:56, 7th 2006 Country Music Marathon
18) Nikolai Kerimov, 38, RUS, 2:11:46, 1st 2003 White Knights St. Petersburg Marathon.

1) Tatiana Mironova, 37, RUS, 2:32:28, 1st 2006 Country Music Marathon, 3rd 2005 Country Music Marathon
2) Abeba Tola, 29, ETH, 2:29:54, 5th 2006 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona, 3rd 2007 L.A. Marathon
3) Alem Ashebir, 24, ETH, 2:39:39, 10th 2006 Real Berlin Marathon
4) Hirut Legesse, 25, ETH, 2:45:33, 6th 2007 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon
5) Iraida Pudovkina, 25, RUS, 2:42:09, N/A
6) Svetlana Pretot, 35, FRA, 2:32:14, 1st 2006 Nant Marathon
7) Olena Shurkhno, 29, UKR, 2:37:50, 1st 2006 Munster GER Marathon CR
8) Suzy Schumacher, 37, USA/AZ, 2:46:29, N/A
9) Jenny DeWeese, 29, USA/NC, 2:44:55, 26th 2006 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

COL     Columbia
ETH     Ethiopia
FRA     France
KEN     Kenya
PER     Peru
RUS     Russia
UKR     Ukraine
USA     United States
VEN     Venezuela

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