Monday, March 30, 2009

James Boitt Switches for Cool Victory in the ING Georgia Marathon

/PRNewswire/ -- After days of drought-relieving rain left Atlanta with cool and windy conditions on Sunday, James Boitt felt like this might be his day. Boitt, a Kenyan living in Peachtree City, Ga., switched from the half to the full marathon on race day and went on to win the ING Georgia Marathon with a time of 2:22:16, for his first major marathon victory. The combo distance running event sold out with 15,000 runners and wheelchair athletes registering for the third annual ING Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon. Complete race results are available at

"I switched to the marathon today because I felt like I could be fast," said Boitt, a native Kenyan who notched his second marathon victory in the state of Georgia in the month of March after winning in Albany. "I was happy that everybody did not start too fast in the first 10 miles. I laid back for a while at the 20-mile mark, then I was really strong at the end and took the lead for good at mile 24." Boitt closed with a strong enough sprint to nearly catch the police escort at the finish line, beating second place finisher Kassahun Kabiso (Ethiopia) by 34 seconds.

Serkalem Abrha of Ethiopia came out on top in the women's field of the ING Georgia Marathon with a time of 2:41:31, edging out second place finisher Albina Gallyamova of Russia. "This was a hard race for me," said Abrha, who won the ING Hartford Marathon in 2008. "But I was very confident when I was leading, so I felt very good once I got to the front."

Kenyan Janet Cherobon, who lives in Rome, Ga., took victory for the third straight year in the women's open division of the ING Georgia Half Marathon in 1:14:49. Cherobon's pace was fast enough to finish in the Top 10 overall in the Half Marathon. Patrick Cheruiyot of Kenya was the overall winner of the men's Half Marathon with a time of 1:05:18.

"I like this course very much, especially the hills which are very good for me. It's definitely a home course advantage for me," said Cherobon. "I love this race and it was perfect conditions today for a fast race."

"The weather often writes its own story for us in this race and this year is no exception as days of heavy rain left the area just in time for the start," said Michael Hughes, race director ING Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon. "The runners were blessed with cool conditions that were just right for fast times over our beautiful, but challenging course. The participation of everyone, from the runners to the volunteers to the spectators, was a fantastic and energetic way to kick off spring in Atlanta."

The wheelchair half marathon saw a third straight championship for both the men's and women's divisions. Krige Schabort (men's open division) and Amanda McGrory (women's open division) successfully defended their titles from 2007 and 2008, further cementing their domination of the event. Schabort, who resides in Cedartown, Ga., finished in 49:14, setting a new race record. McGrory, from Champaign, Ill., finished with a time of 1:05:36.

"I may be a little bit different than other racers because I actually prefer the hills," said McGrory about the challenging race course. "It's a difficult course, but it is definitely one of my favorites."

The ING Run For Something Better program, also in its third year in Atlanta, sported a field of 1,500 middle school children finishing the Final Mile of a half marathon along the same course. This year, students in 26 local middle schools (Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County Schools and a Decatur Middle School) ran 13.1 miles over nine weeks in their physical education classes.

The urban marathon racecourse starts and finishes at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta and in-between takes runners through the most interesting areas and historic neighborhoods of Atlanta and the city of Decatur. Adding to its popularity, the ING Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon boasts an incredibly high completion rate of more than 98 percent for its first three years, which reflects the determination of the runners as well as the course experience itself.

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