James, Sutton Win St. Jude Country Music Marathon
Sheryl Crow, Grammy award-winning artist, breaks 2 hours running first 13.1-mile race; Kiplagat, Thompson take ½ marathon; Rodney Atkins headlines evening concert; more than 30,000 runners at 13th edition
From Ryan Lamppa, Running USA
Posted Monday, 30 April, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - (April 28, 2012) - Nine-time Grammy Award winner Sheryl Crow joined more than 30,000 runners at the 2012 St. Jude Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by Nissan. The first ambassador of the St. Jude Music Gives program, Crow ran the Nashville half-marathon in support of the New Hope Academy, finishing the 13.1-mile race in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 14 seconds.
"The bands were great, they were so uplifting and fun and really help take your mind off the pain. People lined the course the whole way, cheering you on saying 'you can do it'," said Crow, 49, who was running her first half-marathon and recently released her seventh album 100 Miles From Memphis. "I can really see how people get hooked on doing marathons."
A pair of first-time marathoners won the 13th running of Nashville's 26.2 mile block party. Berry College sophomore Ryan James of Belfast, Maine crossed the finish line first in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 50 seconds. At 19-years-old he became the youngest marathon champion in the history of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.
"This was an amazing experience. My plan was to run to completion and run as hard as I could," said James. "Those last couple miles it was getting a little tough. I heard Nashville had hills, but I'm a cross-country runner. A bunch of my teammates are here running to celebrate the end of our season, but this is the highlight of my running career."
Erin Sutton, 24, of Woodstock, Ga. won the women's marathon in 2:54:16 to take home the $1000 first prize after her debut.
In the 11th Country Music ½ Marathon, Dallas-based Kenyan Sammy Kiplagat, who won the Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon last month, hit the finish line first outside LP Field, clocking 1:10:08, while Sharon Thompson of Franklin, Tenn., a three-time All-American at the University of Tennessee, won the women's race in 1:19:40.
Along with Crow, other notable runners included national radio host Dave Ramsey (2:16:15), Christian artist Toby Mac (2:18:39), Suzanne Alexander, host of GAC Nights and On The Streets (2:19:58) and Country Music artist Joanna Smith, who sang the national anthem and then completed the half-marathon in 2:22:33 running in support of St. Jude.
"As the official charity partner of this remarkable event, we are grateful to all the participants, especially the amazing group of St. Jude Heroes," said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC / St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "The true winners are the kids of St. Jude. Every dollar raised will help St. Jude continue our groundbreaking research and care, all while ensuring that no family ever pays St. Jude for anything."
The weekend's schedule of events also included more than 7,100 junior racers competing at ING KiDS ROCK Nashville on Friday evening, a non-competitive, non-timed one-mile fun run for kids grades K-7. Event weekend festivities conclude with a post-race concert Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena headlined by Rodney Atkins. The 14th St. Jude Country Music Marathon is set for April 27, 2013.
13th St. Jude Country Music Marathon
Nashville, TN, Saturday, April 28, 2012
1) Ryan James, 19, Belfast, ME, 2:32:50, no prize money, NCAA
2) Steve Slaby, 31, Tucson, AZ, 2:40:16, $500
3) Daniel Smoak, 23, Greenville, SC, 2:41:44, $250
1) Erin Sutton, 24, Woodstock, GA, 2:54:16, $1000
2) Karen Lockyer, 34, Lake Charles, LA, 2:56:22, $500
3) Erin Wachter, 25, Folsom, CA, 3:00:56, $250
11th St. Jude Country Music ½ Marathon
1) Sammy Kiplagat (KEN), 39, Hidalgo, TX, 1:10:08
1) Sharon Thompson, 32, Franklin, TN, 1:19:40
Complete results, photos and more at: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/nashville