Hendrick Ramaala Headlines 2010 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Field

Race to Feature New Course in 2010, Men's Elite Field Includes 2008 and 2009 Champions

 San Diego, CA – June 1, 2010 – One of the world’s greatest marathon runners, South African Hendrick Ramaala, will lead a field of 30,000 entrants on Sunday, June 6 at this year’s  revamped Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  For the first time in the San Diego's 13-year Rock ‘n’ Roll history, the event will include a half marathon, along with a new finish line at SeaWorld.

A former ING New York City Marathon champion, Ramaala owns a personal best of 2:06:55 from the London Marathon in 2006. He finished 5th at the Virgin London Marathon last year, running a time of 2:07:44.

“I'm excited to run the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, every morning I have been pushing my training,” said Ramaala. “I've heard a lot of nice things about the race and the city, I would love to do well in front of the people there and put on a good show. I've never been to San Diego and I'm excited to see the city.”

Ramaala will line up against defending champion Khalid El Boumlili of Morocco, as well as former 5,000-meter world champion Richard Limo of Kenya. Prior to winning last year's Rock 'n' Roll event, El Boumlili finished third at the 2008 Boston Marathon in a personal record of 2:10:35. Limo comes to San Diego with his sights set on countryman Philip Tarus’ longstanding event record of 2:08:33. Better known for his accomplishments on the track, Limo has a marathon best of 2:06:45 set in Amsterdam in 2007. He finished 5th at the 2009 Chicago Marathon and was runner up at the Los Angeles Marathon earlier this year.

Since Josh Cox's 9th-place finish at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in 1999, no American has finished in the top 10 at San Diego’s 26.2-mile road race. The United States' best hope to end the streak is Nick Arciniaga, who trains with the McMillan-Elite team in Flagstaff, AZ. Arciniaga recently finished third at the USA 25K Championships in Grand Rapids, MI on May 8. Last year he finished 8th overall at the New York Marathon, running a personal best of 2:13:46.

“With a new course this year we have possibly the most talented field ever assembled for the men’s marathon in San Diego,” said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete Recruiter. “The event record of 2:08:33 is certainly under threat with four guys in the field who have run PR’s under 2:08.”

The four athletes with personal bests quicker than the course record include Tariku Jafur of Ethiopia and Kenei Kiprotich of Kenya. Tariku was runner up at last year's LA Marathon and set his personal best in 2008 with a 2:08:10 clocking in Hamburg. Hamburg was also the venue where Kiprotich posted a 2:07:42 personal record in 2007, finishing third. 

The men’s field is rounded out by three former champions from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, including 2008 San Diego winner Simon Wangi of Kenya. He’ll be joined at the start line by countrymen Meshack Kirwa, who won Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio in 2008, and William Chebor, the 2009 Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon champion.

The elite field is vying for a prize purse that will award $25,000 to the winner.  Race day begins Sunday morning at 6:15 am on 6th Avenue at Palm adjacent to Balboa Park. The new course features a stretch inside the San Diego Padres’ PETCO Park and more than 10 miles along the San Diego waterfront, including a five-mile loop on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. A full course description, including turn-by-turn directions and course maps, are located at online at san-diego.competitor.com.




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