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5.18.14 - Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Records Fastest Marathon Times in 13 years

New course and cool, sunny weather a hit with runners and spectators

CLEVELAND (May 18, 2014) - The 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon saw the fastest finish time in the last 13 years on its new and well-received full marathon course as more than 20,000 runners converged at the start line for today's race.

Philip Lagat of Kenya won the men's marathon with a time 2:12:39, while Sarah Kiptoo of Kenya won the women's marathon for the second year in a row, running the course in 2:34:58. The drastic course makeover, which ran predominately on the west side of the city, earned praise from runners and fans.

Lagat isn't new to the city of Cleveland, as he won the men's 10K race in 2010. He pulled away from fellow countryman Eliud Too with just a few miles remaining after a close race for most of the way. The 37th annual event included a 10K, half marathon and full marathon on Sunday and a 5K and Kids' Run events on Saturday.

Executive Race Director Jack Staph said, "Today's race was exceptional on many levels and marked a great day for Cleveland. The new course drew an unprecedented amount of fans throughout nearly every mile of the course. The support we received from the residents and officials in Rocky River, Lakewood, Tremont and Ohio City was wonderful. They welcomed our participants with open arms."

After a wild week of weather in Cleveland over the past six days, a distance event couldn't have asked for better weather for a race. With a cool, clear start around 45 degrees with six mile an hour wind and a finish line temperature around 55 degrees and full sun, participants had very few medical issues and spectators had a great day to sit outside and cheer.

"We're very pleased with the great times we saw from the winners today," said Staph. "We are excited to see that our numbers are continuing to climb in terms of participants and spectators and we're proud of the fact the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon continues to attract so many elite runners from the United States and around the world to our city."

Eliud Too, 26, of Kenya, came in second in the men's marathon with a time of 2:13:35, followed by 30 year-old Abebe Mekuruya, also from Kenya, at 2:17:07. Dehininet Jara, 29, of Kenya finished second in the women's marathon with a time of 2:41:14. She was followed by Carol Smith, 28, of Bethesda, Md., who finished in 2:45:53.

Marathon winners Lagat and Kiptoo each won $3,000 and collected an additional $3,000 bonus for finishing under 2:20:00 and 2:40:00, respectively.

Common with the 10K race, elite international runners dominated the top spots for the men's and women's events. Kenyan runners Julius Koskei and Lilian Mariita won the men's and women's races, respectively, and each took home a $2,000 purse.

Koskei, 31, finished in 29:06. He was followed by countryman Diriba Degrefa, 26, who finished in 29:30 and Robert Ndiwa, 25, also from Kenya, who finished with a time of 29:38. Mariita, 29, won the women's 10K with a time of 33:42. Grace Kahura, 21, of Kenya, placed second with a time of 34:02. She was followed by 31-year-old Stephanie Pezzullo of Blowing Rock, N.C., who finished in 34:05.

The half marathon race was won by Michael Groholy, 28, of North Canton, Ohio, finishing in 1:12:35. Kevin Moore, 25, of St. Catharines, Ontario, took second with a time of 1:13:24, and Michael Dahmen, 19, of North Bloomfield, Ohio finished second running 1:15:47. Kathryn Jarocki, 28, from McKees Rocks, Pa., led the women's half marathon with a time of 1:24:28. Jessica Zangmeister, 23, of Fairview Park, Ohio, took second with a time of 1:26:20, followed by 40-year-old Brandi Dawson of Westlake, Ohio, who rounded out the top three with a time of 1:29.57.

Sunday's events also included the We Run This City youth marathon program, which had 700 school-aged participants from Cleveland Municipal School District. Most of the kids ran the final 1.2 miles of their 26.2-mile training that went on throughout the spring, however an additional 154 students ran the 10K, 11 took on the half and three students ran the full marathon.

The 5K on Saturday drew more than 1,500 runners and walkers, many raising funds for a charity of their choice. In addition, almost 1,000 children in the 12-and-under age group participated in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Nose Children's Run at Edgewater Park.

Thirty-four-year-old Stephen Benesh of North Ridgeville, Ohio claimed Saturday's 5K in 15:37. It was Benesh's second victory in the event in three years. In the women's race, Kelly Green, 32, from Burton, Ohio, won with a time of 17:15.

The 2014 race featured 16 neighborhood parties, and numerous music stations and bands along the course. The finish line area, which featured live music, a beer garden, food vendors and sponsor and charity booths, was overflowing with family and friends of runners enjoying the sights of the Mall C with the finish line situated on Lakeside just before the grassy Mall area.

"This race showcases the best Cleveland has to offer the thousands of people who come out on Sunday to run, walk or cheer," said Staph. "They're in a great city, running a flat, fast course, and it seems more and more people are enjoying their own 'Cleveland Experience' each and every year."

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon received three national recognitions in 2014, being labeled "one of the 14 best marathons to do in 2014" by Active.com. The Daily Burn voted the race "1 of the 15 best spring marathons" and, it was named "A Top Marathon Worth Travelling For" by TripAdvisor's FlipKey.com

Official race results of all finishing runners are available on the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon website at www.clevelandmarathon.com by clicking on the "2014 Race Results" button. Registration opens today for the 2015 race, which is scheduled for Sunday, May 17, 2015.

About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is in its 37th year of providing a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. More than 375,000 runners have participated, generating more than $18 million annually to benefit the Cleveland community.

Mission Statement:
• To provide a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities.
• To produce an event that highlights the Cleveland community and provides a positive economic impact for the community.
• To give charities an opportunity to benefit financially from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K events.

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