Siemers Breaks Colorado State Record at Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon With 2:18:48

By RunningUSA.org
October 9, 2011

Utrata wins women's marathon; Eberly, Simon half-marathon champions; more than 15,000 entrants and nearly $390,000 raised for 11 different charity organizations at second edition in Mile High City

DENVER - (October 9, 2011) - A brisk, fall morning transformed into a thrilling afternoon at the 2nd Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon & ½ Marathon, where a new state record was set on Sunday. More than 15,000 entrants lined up in downtown Denver, touring the city's beautiful parks under perfect running conditions before a finish under sunny skies in Civic Center Park.

As the clock ticked toward 2:19:32, the state marathon record held by Juan Salvador of Mexico since 1993, excitement began to build in the crowds lining the finish line. 30-year-old Chris Siemers of Arvada, Colo. appeared in the final stretch, finishing to roaring applause in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 48 seconds, a new state record. Siemers was followed by Andrew Smith of Denver, Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya and U.S. 50K record holder Josh Cox, who placed fourth.

Having achieved his main goal of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials, the state record was an emotional achievement for Siemers, who grew up in Chicago but lives and trains in Colorado, calling it "the best state for running."

"I wanted to do it here," he said, referring to his qualifying time. "I love Colorado and I used to watch guys like Alan Culpepper run here and it motivated me," he said. "Mentally, this is huge for me. I wanted to prove it to myself and I have."

Siemers ran side-by-side with the half-marathon men's winner, Josh Eberly of Gunnison, until the two courses split. The two men ran together at Western State College and parted ways with a fist bump and words of encouragement.

"I told him to pace himself," laughed Eberly, who also won his race handily in 1:06:57, beating Bernard Langat of Kenya by more than two minutes. "It was a great course. There were some hills, but I run here often and it's great to go through all the parks." Eberly will join Siemers at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials hosted by Houston in January.

In the women's marathon, Heather Utrata of Englewood struggled in the final miles, but was victorious over Trisha Miller of Missoula, Montana, winning in 2:50:38. Utrata, 29, who placed second here last year, was brought to tears by the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Olympic Trials, but also the joy of the win.

"It was a really difficult race," she said. "I was having a hard time around mile 24, but then I saw so many friends along the sidelines cheering and yelling for me and that pushed me through. I'm really happy with the win - this was a big race for me." Utrata plans to compete next at the Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in December.

Romania's Lidia Simon and Nuta Olaru dominated the women's half-marathon, with 38-year-old Simon, the 2000 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, ultimately taking first in 1:14:54, while Olaru, 41, placed behind her in 1:15:16, followed by Brianne Nelson of Fort Collins in 1:17:12. Olaru currently holds the Colorado state half-marathon record (1:13:28 from 2007).

More than 300 participants were running for a cause, raising upwards of $390,000 for 11 different charity organizations. The Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon & ½ Marathon will return for a third run on September 23, 2012.

2nd Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon (6th race edition)
Denver, CO, Sunday, October 9, 2011

1) Chris Siemers (CO), 2:18:48*, $1000
2) Andrew Smith (CO), 2:29:29, $500
3) Jonathan Ndambuki (KEN), 2:29:50, $250
*State and course record (previous State record, 2:19:32, Juan Salvador (MEX), Denver Int'l, 10/03/93)

1) Heather Utrata (CO), 2:50:38, $1000
2) Trisha Miller (MT), 2:51:43, $500
3) Nicole Chyr (CO), 2:52:06, $250

2nd Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver ½ Marathon (6th race edition)
1) Josh Eberly (CO), 1:06:57, $1000
2) Bernard Langat (KEN), 1:08:59, $500
3) Nicholas Sunseri (CO), 1:10:43, $250

1) Lidia Simon (ROU), 1:14:54, $1000
2) Nuta Olaru, 41, ROU, 1:15:16, $500
3) Brianne Nelson (CO), 1:17:12, $250


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