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Big Sur International Marathon Announces Field of Elite Runners for Sunday's Race

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Franca Gargiulo

Director Media Relations





Big Sur International Marathon Announces Field of Elite Runners for Sunday's Race



(Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - Carmel, CA) --It seems incredible that the fastest Big Sur International Marathon was run nineteen years ago.  As race officials prepare for the Twenty First Presentation, Brad Hawthorne's record time of 2:16:39 set in 1987, is beginning to seem unbreakable.  Year after year a world-class field takes aim at this milestone, but it has only been seriously challenged once in the 18 years since it was established.  A very talented elite field is set to confront the Big Sur International Marathon course on April 30th.  Included in this group is a three-time Big Sur champion, a one-time champion and a capable group of first time Big Sur participants.


Heading the list is 2005 winner and three-time champion Jonathon Ndambuki, who has run the second and fourth fastest Big Sur Marathons in its history.  He is joined by 2005 runner up Ibrahim Limo, the only runner to win the event other than Ndambuki since 2002.  A talented group of newcomers to the event have  designs on dethroning Ndambuki.


After the 2002 race, Ndambuki, whose marathon PR is 2:10, commented that the course record is unattainable running alone and without competition.  Hopefully the 2006 field will push each other enough to challenge the course record.  In addition to Ndambuki and Limo, we welcome Conor Holt, originally from Ireland, and currently a track coach at Oregon State University.  He is a three time Oklahoma Distance Runner of the Year and competed in the U.S. Olympic Trails in 2004.  Joining him is Charles Nyakundi, originally from Kenya, who has run 2:17 and was second in last year's Mexico City Marathon.  Efrem Haiile and John Weru, also from Kenya, are also set to challenge the Big Sur Course this year. 


The  women's field is headed by two first timers on the Big Sur course.  Rosalva Bonilla,  from Big Bear, CA, is a five time Olympic Trials participant with a marathon PR of 2:40:09.  Tammy Slusser of Pennsylvania has won several marathons in the Northeast.  Although she has never won the Big Sur Marathon, Christine Kennedy posted the fourth fastest course record in history with her 2:46:30 set in 1993 and won last year's Masters title.  Finally, Mary Coordt, who finished second in 2005, will return with the hope of improving her finish by one spot.  If the weather cooperates, this fast group of women could challenge Svetlana Vasilyeva's course record of 2:41:34 set in 1996.


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 athletes.  The winners will have survived a world-class course and a world-class field while pursuing the elusive course record.




More information on this Sunday's Big Sur International Marathon can be found on the website, www.bsim.org