Course record to be challenged by seven male athletes posting times under 1:03; ASICS athlete and 2011 NYC Marathon first American female, Molly Pritz, leads an impressive field of half marathon competitors
MONTEREY, Calif. – Thirty-five of the nation’s top half marathon runners comprise the fastest-ever field to compete in the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, set for Sunday morning, November 17. Seven of the male athletes posting times under 1 hour, 3 minutes are poised to set a new course record in this year’s 11th presentation.
In total, 18 male elite runners and 17 female elites will vie for a prize purse of $17,850 with an additional $1,000 offered for breaking the course record. The prize money purse, the largest offered for a half-marathon in the western United States, and the fast, scenic course continues to draw top runners from throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as international athletes who live and train in the States.
The course record of 1:02:33 for the 13.1-mile distance, set by Ian Dobson in 2006, will be challenged by the seven runners with personal records (PRs) below 1:03. They include Nelson Oyugi, who won San Diego’s America’s Finest City Half Marathon last August in a course-record 1:01:59; Moroccan’s Aissa Dghoughi (PR 1:01:27) and Mohamed Fadil (1:01:07); Ian Burrell (1:02:51) third in 2011; Fernando Cabada (1:02:51), second in the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon last month; and Kenyans Lamech Mosoti (1:02:53) and Geofrey Terer (1:02:35).
Other top male contenders are defending champion, Ben Bruce (winning time 1:04:46); 2011 second-place finisher Benson Cheriuyot (1:03:07); Sergio Reyes (1:03:30), third in 2009; and Mario Macias (1:04:30), fourth place in both 2010 and 2011. Two-time Big Sur Marathon winner Adam Roach (1:08:42); and 2011 Big Sur Marathon champion Jesus Campos (1:07:32) will be local favorites near the front.
The talented women’s field includes an Olympian and seven women who have dipped under 1:16. The fastest PR is held by ASICS-sponsored athlete Molly Pritz in 1:10:45. Pritz was also the first American at the 2011 New York City Marathon in her 26.2-mile debut. Pritz, who lives and trains in Boulder, Colo., should be challenged by several women including Kenyan Sarah Kiptoo, who broke the course record at the Grandma’s Marathon last June and has a PR of 1:12:04; Jess Dreskau-Petersson, who was a 2012 Olympian for her native Denmark and has a PR of 1:13:30; and Sarah Crouch, who was an Olympics Trials participant at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters and finished 12th in this year’s US Half Marathon Championships (her debut at the distance) in 1:13:34.
Other leading women include Lauren Kleppin, second in this year’s Hollywood Half Marathon (1:15:18); Ariana Hilborn, sixth American at the Boston Marathon and seventh at the 2011 Half Marathon on Monterey Bay (1:15:32); Bria Wetsch, third fastest high school two-mile runner in Minnesota history (1:15:35); and Phebe Ko, a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier with a PR of 1:15:42.
Two Big Sur masters legends lead the group of women ages 40 and over. Mary Coordt is a two-time Big Sur International Marathon champion and finished as the second master in this race for the past three years. Battling Mary will be ageless Christine Kennedy, who at 58 continues to break age group records and was the 2011 USATF Master’s Athlete of the Year.
The Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay draws a sellout field of 9,000 runners. The winding, slightly-rolling course winds through historic Monterey, down Cannery Row past the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and onto a scenic coastal route through the quaint seaside town of Pacific Grove. The finish line and accompanying finish festivities take place in the Custom House Plaza near Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and harbor.
Race weekend events include the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K, offering a certified course, timing and age group awards; and the JUST RUN! Just Kids 3K fun run, both held on Saturday morning, November 16. A two-day Health & Fitness Expo will also be held the two days preceding the Half Marathon, November 15 and 16, at the Monterey Conference Center.
For more information, visit: www.bsim.org