Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ottawa's weekend marathon record-breaking

A world record and an Ottawa marathon record were broken Sunday in a race weekend that pumped millions of dollars into the city's economy.
"We had a very strong complement of elite runners this year for the 10K and marathon distances," said John Halvorsen, president of Run Ottawa. "Four elite marathoners finished in times under the previous course record of 2:10:35, with three finishing in the 2:09 range."
A record-breaking number of participants lined the city's streets in the Ottawa Race Weekend, which is the biggest running event in Canada.
Almost 40,000 people took part in the event, which draws some of the world's fastest runners.
Event organizers said it's not just the thousands of dollars in prize money that attracts runners, it's also the chance to compete against the best.
Manny Rodrigues, the organizer responsible for recruiting runners to the race, said the event becomes more popular each year, making his job easier.
"This year, for the men's marathon we're going to have about 15 people who want to break 2:08, which is a phenomenal time," said Rodrigues. "These are world-class runners, who can go anywhere they want and command appearance fees. The fact that they're coming to Ottawa is [because] we're really trying to make a statement here and they felt that they can [race] here."
Many of the athletes ran for the race weekend's official local charity, the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, which raised a total of $904,521, said a marathon news release.
Organizers estimate friends, family and participants who attended the event injected about $25 million into Ottawa's economy.

Full marathon

Arata Fujiwara of Japan set an Ottawa marathon record with a time of 2:09:33 in the men's full marathon. The previous record time was 2:10:35, set in 2007.
Merima Mohammed of Ethiopia won first in the women's full marathon with a time of 2:28:19.
Stephen Drew of Kitchener, Ont., was the top Canadian male in 2:21:46. Krista Duchesne of Brantford, Ont., won the women's national title in 2:39:07. Each took home $5,000 for winning the Canadian championship.
Rick Ball of Orillia, Ont., set a marathon world record by an amputee athlete with a time of 2:57:48. The previous best was 3:01:50, set in 2009.

Half marathon

Lawton Redmon of South Burlin, Vt., finished first in the men's with a time of 1:10:11.
Karine Lefebvre of Lac-Beauport, Que., finished first in the women's with a time of 1:20:11.


Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia finished first in the men's 10k race on Saturday with a time of 28:08.
Dire Tune, also from Ethiopia, finished first in the 10k women's race with a time of 32:11.

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