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Women's Course Record Shattered at Country Music Marathon; Kenyan Rookie Narrowly Misses Men's Course Record.

Sports Editors/Running Writers & Columnists

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 26, 2003

Forty-one year-old Irina Bogacheva of Krgyzstan and 22-year-old Kenyan rookie Jomo Kororia became today's Nashville stars at the fourth annual Country Music Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.

Under cool, overcast conditions, Bogacheva smashed the previous course record of 2:34:40 with her 2:28:06 winning time, earning $41,000 for her efforts. On the men's side, Kororia surged away from course record holder and countryman Luke Kibet, going uphill through downtown Nashville in the 21st mile, but just missed Kibet's 2000 course mark by a single second, finishing in 2:12:56. His victory earned him $15,000.

"I just pushed the last three miles," said Bogacheva of her race strategy. "My coach told me to save my energy for my next race in San Diego (the Suzuki Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, June 1st). So it was only the last three miles that I pushed."

Yet it wasn't until the final mile that Bogacheva broke free from her constant race shadow, Olga Kovpotina of Ukraine, who finished second in 2:28:42, also well under the old course mark. Russia's Tatiana Titova was third at 2:32:01.

"I will spend the money to train for the next Olympic Games," added Bogacheva of her record haul which included $15,000 for first place, $5,000 for the course record, $10,000 for running sub-2:30, $10,000 for sub-2:29, and $1,000 as the first place masters (age 40 years old and over). Bogacheva has already qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics with her third place, 2:28 mark at the recent Nagoya Marathon in Japan. Today she averaged 5:39 per mile on the Nashville course.

The men's race began conservatively from Centennial Park, the start area that features an exact replica of the Acropolis in Athens. Cool headwinds slowed the initial miles down West End Avenue to 5:44, 5:15, and 5:21. With no pacesetters on hand, the men were left to their own devices, and it wasn't until the 14th mile that they managed to go a sub-5:00-minute per mile pace. They reached the halfway point in 1:08:34, a relatively slow pace at that point.

Kibet then moved to the front and ran a 4:40 mile, reducing the pack from 15 men down to five; Kibet, Kororia, Paul Tangus, Abderrazak Haki and Mohamed Nazipov. The pack ran through Metrocenter West where Kibet continued to surge, dropping all but Kororia. After another series of sub 5:00-minute miles, the pair came to the hill between mile 20 and 21, where Kororia began to push and slowly pulled away from course record-holder Kibet.

By the 24th mile in Shelby Park, the margin between the two leaders had grown to 25 seconds. The 41-year old Nazipov, third in the 2001 Country Music Marathon, begin to close in on Kibet, in second place, and then put his sites on Kororia.

With a history of drama in the last mile at the Country Music Marathon, the fourth edition of the race offered more of the same. The 22-year old Kororia, in his debut marathon performance, held off the 41-year Nazipov to earn his victory with a time of 2:12:56. Kororia is the younger brother of 1995 World Half Marathon champion Chem Kororia.

"Today I could not predict what I would do," said Kororia. "I knew the training I had done was good and I was happy when I finished because I beat the (2000) champion."

Nazipov crossed the finish line in second place at 2:13:15, followed by Kibet in third 2:14:12.

The record-setting day wrapped up a weekend of festivities that included the half marathon and the Country Music Kids' Marathon which was led by its official spokesperson, Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, who ran the marathon last year. Over 12,000 runners, who were treated to music and cheerleaders at every mile along the marathon and half marathon courses, cap the day with more music at the headliner concert, featuring Diamond Rio and Rebecca Lynn Howard, at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Top 10 Marathon Finishers

Men
Place Name Age Country Time
1 Jomo Kororia 22 Kenya 2:12:56
2 Mohamed Nazipov 41 Russia 2:13:15
3 Luke Kibet 28 Kenya 2:14:12
4 Juan Carlos Cardona 28 Columbia 2:14:30
5 Elias Chelanga 28 Kenya 2:16:01
6 Paul Tangus 29 Kenya 2:16:27
7 Larryn Sanchez 28 VEN 2:17:38
8 Oleg Bolhovets 26 Russia 2:17:50
9 Hugo Jimenez 28 COL 2:21:12
10 Jackson Omweri 26 Kenya 2:29:18


Women
Place Name Age Country Time
1 Irina Bogacheva 41 KGZ 2:28:06
2 Olga Kovpotina 33 UKR 2:28:42
3 Tatiana Titova 37 Russia 2:32:01
4 Larisa Timkina 36 Moldovia 2:36:15
5 Anfisa Kossatcheva 36 Russia 2:38:15
6 Natalia Galushko 31 BLR 2:38:44
7 Dorothy Gach 31 IL, USA 2:53:46
8 Wendy Hall 33 GA, USA 2:55:45
9 Suzanne Clemmer 23 NC, USA 3:05:15
10 Carrie Greenway 23 TN, USA 3:10:54



For further results and information on the day's events visit www.cmmarathon.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 26, 2003
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