Tola, Masai Win CIGNA Falmouth Road Race

08/11/2008 - 10:37

August 11, 2008 from Running USA wire by Rich Sherman (FALMOUTH, MA) The first time was a charm for both the men's and women's winners of the 36th CIGNA Falmouth Road Race on Sunday. In addition, this year marked the first time that a Masters runner - 40 and older - topped the women's field, following her wins in consecutive weekends at the Bix 7 Mile in Davenport, Iowa and the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine as Edith Masai, age 41, of Kenya crossed the finish line in 37 minutes, 2 seconds followed by Lyudmila Bitkasheva, 34, of Russia three seconds later in 37:05.

On the men's side, Tadese Tola, 20, finished in 32:01, which broke the nine-year Kenyan winning streak and also marked the first win here by an Ethiopian. The 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist and Team Running USA's Meb Keflezighi, 33, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., finished second in 32:09. That time bettered his 2007 Falmouth runner-up finish by four seconds. Boaz Cheboiywo of Kenya placed third in 32:12. Both winning times were off the course records of 31:08 and 35:02 set by Gilbert Okari and Lornah Kiplagat in 2004 and 2000, respectively.

Azure blue skies and temperatures in the high 60s greeted the field at the Woods Hole starting line. By the time the runners reached the finish line of the seven mile course at Falmouth Heights, temperatures had only risen to the mid-70s, however the lack of ocean breezes eliminated any cooling effect for the nearly 11,000 participants.

The men's pack sprinted off the start line, and at the Nobska Light one mile split a group of 18-20 men clocked 4:32. Leaders included Tola, Keflezighi, Cheboiywo, Edward Muge, Dennis Ndiso and Dereje Tadesse. The leaders kept a clockwork pace, with the pack of 12 passing two miles in 9:05 for a 4:33 split. The group thinned to nine at three miles in 13:41 (4:36 mile split) and by the time the leaders reached four mile mark on scenic Surf Drive in 18:14 there were six including Tola, Cheboiywo, Keflezighi, Muge and Tadesse. The pack dwindled to four as Keflezighi, Muge, Tola and Cheboiywo passed mile five in 22:44 and the 10K in 27:27. Muge's attempt at matching Masai's road race hat trick - wins at Bix, Beach to Beacon and Falmouth - was not to be when he pulled off the course at six and a half miles.

At the one mile split, the women's lead pack included Masai, Bitkasheva, eventual third place finisher Angelina Mutuku of Kenya and American and 2004 Olympian Kate O'Neill. Having placed second to Masai in last week's Beach to Beacon, Bitkasheva decided to push the pace from mile two. At the five mile mark, a confident Masai made her move and never relinquished her lead. Bitkasheva battled Mutuku finally passing her on the last hills leading to the Falmouth Heights finish to take second. Following Mutuku's 37:07 were Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia in 37:15 and American Renee Metivier Baillie in 37:30.

Masai, collected prize money ($12,500) in both the Overall and Masters women's divisions. Two-time overall and two-time Masters Falmouth champion Colleen De Reuck of Boulder, Colo. took second in 38:17, sixth American and 13th overall. Moroccan Brahim Lahlafi, 40, won the Men's Masters division in 33:42. Sean Wade, 42, of Houston, Texas, finished second in 35:35.

Krige Schabort, 39, of Cedartown, Ga. shattered the Men's Wheelchair record by 18 seconds with his 23:35 win, while four-time race winner Tony Nogueira, finished second in 25:45. Jacqui Kapinowski for Point Pleasant, N.J. won the Women's Wheelchair division in 43:04.

Three-time Falmouth winner Bill Rodgers, age 60, of Sherborn, Mass., finished in a time of 49:23. Six-time Falmouth winner Joan Benoit Samuelson, age 51, of Freeport, Maine, who finished 25th overall in the Women's division with a time of 41:49, making her the fifth master and first senior finisher. Dick and Rick Hoyt finished in 58:36.

This year marked CIGNA Group Insurance's third title sponsorship. Karen S. Rohan, president of CIGNA Group Insurance and CIGNA Specialty Products, finished her 11th consecutive race. CIGNA provides employers with benefits, expertise and services that improve the health, well-being and productivity of their employees. With approximately 47 million covered lives in the United States and around the world, CIGNA's operating subsidiaries offer a full portfolio of medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits and group life, accident and disability insurance.

The date of the 37th running of the CIGNA Falmouth Road Race will be held Sunday, August 9, 2009.

36th CIGNA Falmouth Road Race
Falmouth, MA, Sunday, August 10, 2008

1) Tadese Tola (ETH), 32:01, $10,000
2) Meb Keflezighi (USA / CA), 32:09, $10,000
3) Boaz Cheboiywo (KEN), 32:12, $2000
4) Samuel Ndereba (KEN), 32:25, $1500
5) Dereje Tadesse (ETH), 32:32, $1000
6) James Carney (USA / CO), 32:33, $3800
7) Lishan Yigezu (ETH), 32:35, $650
8) Girma Tolla (ETH), 32:45, $600
9) Ed Moran (USA / VA), 32:57, $2450
10) Hosea Rotich (KEN), 32:58, $350
Other U.S.
12) Brian Olinger (USA / OH), 33:12, $1500
13) Dan Browne (USA / OR), 33:18, $1000
15) Rod Koborsi (USA / DC), 33:26, $800

MASTERS Men (40+)
1) Brahim Lahlafi, 40, MAR, 33:42, $2500
2) Sean Wade, 42, USA / TX, 35:35, $1000
3) Paul Mwangi, 41, KEN, 35:54, $750
4) Gideon Mutisya, 41, KEN, 36:24, $500
5) Gene Mitchell, 40, USA / PA, 37:15, $250

1) Edith Masai, 41, KEN, 37:02, $12,500
2) Lyudmila Bitkasheva (RUS), 37:05, $5000
3) Angelina Mutuku (KEN), 37:07, $2000
4) Mamitu Daska (ETH), 37:15, $1500
5) Renee Metivier Baillie (USA / AZ), 37:30, $6000
6) Amy Rudolph (USA / RI), 37:34, $3800
7) Aziza Ayilu (ETH), 37:36, $650
8) Jane Gakunyi (KEN), 37:40, $600
9) Elva Dryer (USA / CO), 37:45, $2450
10) Rebecca Donaghue (USA / PA), 37:49, $1850
Other U.S.
11) Kate O'Neill (USA / CA), 37:53, $1000
14) Melissa Cook (USA / TX), 38:19, $600
15) Julie Culley (USA / VA), 38:24, $400

MASTERS Women (40+)
1) Masai, see above
2) Colleen De Reuck, 44, USA / CO, 38:19, $1800
3) Albina Gallyamova, 44, RUS, 40:14, $750
4) Kathy Fleming, 40, USA / MA, 41:35, $500
5) Joan Benoit Samuelson, 51, USA / ME, 41:49, $250

Complete results at:

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