Kenya and Russia Claim top Marks at Country Music Marathon

04/30/2008 - 10:32

Courtesy of Elite Racing

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (April 26, 2008) - Kenya's Sylvester Chebii, 26, won the ninth annual Country Music Marathon today in a time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 27 seconds. In the women's race, Svetlana Ponomarenko, 38, from Russia outkicked defending champion Olena Shurkhno, 30, from the Ukraine, finishing in 2:30:33.

The rain, which dampened the pre-race morning, broke before the start gun fired to begin today's race, yielding cool running temperatures for more than 30,000 runners and walkers.

A pack of ten elite men were first out on the 26.2-mile course today. Russian Mikhail Khobotov, 35, attempted to push the pace after the 10k mark, but the men appeared content to preserve a conservative pace. At the half-marathon mark the men were on a 2:17:00 marathon pace. Augustus Kavutu, 31, of Kenya placed the first surge into the race after mile 14 as the pack ran along the banks of the Cumberland River, dropping Sergey Yemilanov from Russia and Ethiopia's Abebe Yimer.

The second surge came on the approach to mile 17 lead by Chebii and countryman Christopher Torotich, 27. The lead pack, which included 26-year-old Ketema Nigusse of Ethiopia and Kenyan Meshack Kosgei, 33, dropped the remaining men as the group ran the fastest mile of the race (4:53) through mile 19.

As the men exited Shelby Park towards the finish, outside LP Field, Nigusse faded and Chebii was mounting his final attack on his opponents.

"It was a tough race, but I felt confident I could win in the final miles," said Chebii.

Ponomarenko's steady pace decimated her counterparts in the women's race from the first 5k to the finish line. By the 10k mark she controlled an 18 second lead. By the half-marathon, she was leading by more than a minute and once she broke the finish line tape, she was more than three minutes ahead of her closest competitor Shurkhno.

"It was a perfect day and I really took advantage of it," said Ponomarenko through her interpreter and agent, Anbrey Baranov.

Ponomarenko ran unchallenged by her competitors and unchallenged by the course averaging a 5:40 per mile pace along her winning tour of Nashville.

Prize Money Results Follow

Country Music Marathon Results Final Prize Money Breakdown

Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time, Prize Money

Men's Marathon

1. Sylvester Chebii, 26, Kenya, 2:14:27, $17,500

2. Meshack Kosgei, 33, Marietta, GA (US), 2:14:55, $8,000

3. Christopher Torotich, 27, Kenya, 2:15:18, $4,000

4. Ketema Nigusse, 26, Ethiopia, 2:16:15, $2,000

5. Benjamin Itok, 36, Kenya, 2:18:16, $1,250


1. Svetlana Ponomarenko, 38, Russia, 2:30:33, $17,500

2. Olena Shurkhno, 30, Ukraine, 2:33:37, $8,000

3. Anzhelika Averkova, 30, Ukraine, 2:35:36, $4,000

4. Sharon Cherop, 23, Kenya, 2:39:52 $2,000

5. Albina Gallyamova, 43, Russia, 2:40:23, $1,250

Local Men - Davidson County

1. David Silvestri, 22, Nashville, 2:54:07, $1,000

2. Wim Codington, 25, Nashville, 2:54:19, $500

Local Men - State of Tennessee

1. Phil Young, 45, Murfreesboro, 2:48:08, $1,000

2. John Lovell, 50, Brentwood, 2:49:56, $500

Local Woman - Davidson County

1. Maureen Manning, 40, Brentwood, 3:09:43, $1,000

2. Emily Ryan, 30, Nashville, 3:17:01, $500

Local Woman - State of Tennessee

1. Andee Cranford, 30, Mount Juliet, 3:04:26, $1,000

2. Maureen Manning, 40, Brentwood, 3:09:43, $500

Men's Masters (40+)

1. Mark Green, 40, Canton, CT (US), 2:45:52, $500

Woman's Masters (40+)

1. Albina Gallyamova, 43, Russia, 2:40:23

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