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For  Immediate Release                                            Contact:
                                                                                    Franca Gargiulo
                                                                                    Director Media Relations




(April 3, 2003 - Carmel, CA)   A very talented elite field is set to challenge the Big Sur International Marathon course on April 27th.  The field for the 18th Presentation of this world-class event includes both of last year's champions plus at least three other past champions.  As these elite runners prepare for the "world's best marathon," they will take aim at the 16-year-old course record (five-time winner Brad Hawthorne's 2:16:39 in 1987).  In addition, several runners are eligible for a bonus available for any repeat winner.


Heading the list is last year's winner, Jonathon Ndambuki, who ran the second fastest Big Sur in history (2:18:05).  Hector Lopez, our 1996 winner, and a very talented newcomer, Abebe Yimer (Ethopia) are set to challenge Jonathon and a new course record could be the result. Fast times, of course, are very dependent upon our famous (or infamous) weather. We also have a top Master this year.  Chris Clark recently won the Masters title at the Napa Marathon, finishing 4th overall and is ready for his first Big Sur International Marathon.


Jonathon, whose PR is 2:10, has told me he is in even better shape this year and looks forward to an even faster time.  Hector Lopez is a veteran of several Big Sur races and is always a tough competitor.  He recently won the Catalina Marathon in a driving rainstorm with a time of 3:02.  If you know the Catalina course, you know how impressive that time is.  On paper, Abebe Yimer promises to be Jonathon's stiffest competition.  A member of the Ethiopian national team, Abebe has a PR of 2:18 and is competing for a spot on his country's Olympic Team for the 2004 games.


The women's fields, one of the strongest ever boasts three past champions and one awesome first-timer.  Last year's winner, JulieAnne White, is joined by Suzanne Morris, our 1999 champion and four-time champion, Kim Marie Goff.  The talented newcomer is Veronica Kanga.  Originally from Kenya, Veronica now lives in Boston, has won the Silicon Valley Marathon twice, and has a PR of 2:38.  In addition, a couple of talented BSIM veterans are returning this year.  Although she has never won our race, Christine Kennedy posted the 4th fastest Big Sur in history with her 2:46:30 in 1993.  Finally, Kari DiStefano who finished 3rd in 2000 and 2nd in 2001 will try to move up one more spot in this year's race.  If the weather cooperates, this group of very fast women could challenge Svetlana Vasilyeva's course record of 2:41:34, set in 1996.


Four-time winner Kim Marie Goff should serve as an inspiration to everyone.  Recovering from breast cancer, she recently began training again after several months of chemotherapy, surgery, and recovery.  Although she doesn't expect to compete for this year's title, she is certainly a winner!  


The most beautiful marathon course in the world is also one of the most challenging and should provide a real test for this superb group of elite runners.  The winners will know that they have beaten a world-class field on a world-class course.


A press conference introducing the elite runners will be scheduled on Saturday before the marathon.  Details are forthcoming.





The 18th annual presentation of the Big Sur International Marathon is set for Sunday, April 27 at 7:00 am.  All proceeds from the event will be distributed to nonprofit organizations throughout Monterey County and Big Sur.  Over the past 17 years, more than $1,000,000 has been distributed to local charities.  For more information, please visit www.bsim.org,