Boston, London Champions Bring ‘Major’ Competition to San Diego
Jeptoo, Kiplagat headline women’s elite field at the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon
Posted Wednesday, 14 May, 2014
San Diego, CA – Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) today announced that the Suja Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon will feature a head-to-head matchup pitting this year’s Boston Marathon champion, Rita Jeptoo against reigning Virgin Money London Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat on Sunday, June 1. Fresh off their prominent victories, Jeptoo and Kiplagat sit atop the current World Marathon Major standings and will both compete this fall for the $500,000 top prize.
“Never in the history of running in San Diego has there been such a titanic clash of current major champions – men or women – and this race certainly continues the rich tradition of world class running at the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event,” said Tracy Sundlun, SVP of CGI and co-founder of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “The women’s elite field reflects our continued commitment to showcasing the world’s top professional runners in premier races.”
Since winning in San Diego last year, Kiplagat, 34, has continued to reign as one of the world’s greatest distance runners. In 2013, she made IAAF World Championships history by becoming the first woman to successfully defend her marathon gold medal. The two-time marathon world champion has a half-marathon PR of 1:07:41 from the Great North Run in 2012. She has also won the 2006 and 2007 Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon, the 2010 New York City Marathon and the 2013 EDP Lisbon Half Marathon.
“I’m very happy to be coming back to San Diego to defend my title. Last year's race was the perfect tune up for me before I went to the World Championships in Moscow,” said Kiplagat, whose time of 1:08:56 was the third fastest women’s half-marathon run in the United States last year. “This year I will be arriving fresh from my London Marathon win and I'm looking forward to the challenge. This will be my 11th Competitor Group event since 2003, four of which I have won. Rock ‘n’ Roll events have always brought out the best in me.”
San Diego will be Jeptoo’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series debut. The three-time Boston Marathon champion finished last month’s race in a course-record and personal best time of 2:18:57. She won the 2013 Chicago Marathon in 2:19:57, the fastest women’s marathon time run in the world last year.
“I’m excited to be part of the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego event this year. After my race in Boston it's a great way for me to focus and get back into my training,” said Jeptoo, 33, who owns a blistering half-marathon PR of 1:06:27. “Racing Edna is always tough. She won here last year and will be hoping to beat me before we take each other on for the World Marathon Majors title later in the year.”
Among the other entrants expected to challenge Kiplagat and Jeptoo are Ethiopians Berhane Dibaba, 20, and Amane Gobena, 31, as well as Nadia Ejafini, 36, of Italy. Despite her youth, Dibaba has an outstanding international resume. She finished second at 2014 Tokyo Marathon and her time of 2:22:30 was the fastest marathon ever run by a 20-year-old woman. Gobena won the 2014 ASICS L.A. Marathon in March and has a half-marathon personal best of 1:08:16. Ejafini has a half-marathon PR of 1:08:27 and most recently represented Italy at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.
Marathon weekend in San Diego will kick off on Friday, May 30, with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the San Diego Convention Center. The Expo, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 11 am to 7 pm on Friday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, May 31. Jeptoo and Kiplagat will host an expo clinic on Friday afternoon, with Jeptoo also making an appearance on Saturday alongside fellow Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi. Meb will pace the 1:30 half-marathon group for his first race appearance since becoming the first American man to win Boston since 1983.
Runners can register for the race using the code “RUNWITHMEB” to save $20 off their entry fee through May 25. Race registration is available online at RunRocknRoll.com.
Both the marathon and half-marathon take place on Sunday, beginning on the west side of Balboa Park. The marathon begins at 6:15 am and the half marathon starts at 6:45. The race route incorporates a scenic tour of San Diego’s neighborhood charm, passing through Little Italy, Old Town, University Heights and Normal Heights before ending adjacent to Petco Park at 13th and K Street just steps away from the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Race weekend concludes with a finish line concert inside the ballpark headlined by Billboard chart-topper Aloe Blacc.
In addition to Blacc’s performance, runners will also enjoy the sounds of live bands playing every mile along the course, along with cheerleaders and thousands of encouraging spectators. For more information or to register for the event, visit RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.
2014 elite women’s field and personal bests
Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 1:07:41 Defending champion, 2014 London Marathon Champion
Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 1:06:27 2014 Boston Marathon Champion
Birhane Dibaba (ETH) 1:11:13 2014 Tokyo Marathon runner-up
Amane Gobena (ETH) 1:08:16 2014 Los Angeles Marathon Champion
Nadia Ejjafini (ITA) 1:08:27
Yuko Watanabe (JPN) 1:10:06
Eri Hayakawa (JPN) 1:10:30
Jane Kibii (KEN) 1:10:21
About Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon
Organized by Competitor Group, the 17th annual Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will run through San Diego on Sunday, June 1, 2014. The race is known for lining the course with live bands and cheerleaders interspersed with themed water stations along each mile of the route. The original Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 1998 is still recognized as the largest inaugural marathon in U.S. history with 19,979 entrants. Over the 17-year history of the event, runners participating with Team In Training have raised more than $176 million to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s blood cancer research and patient services. A free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the San Diego Convention Center kicks off race weekend, featuring more than eighty fitness retailers, exhibits, free samples and interactive clinics. The event concludes Sunday afternoon with a finish line celebration and concert headlined by Aloe Blacc at PETCO Park. For more information about the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon, please visit RunRocknRoll.com.