RECORD TURNOUT EXPECTED FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON

RECORD TURNOUT EXPECTED FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON

Record Turnout Expected for the San Francisco Marathon

RECORD TURNOUT EXPECTED FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO MARATHON (tm) Elite Field Includes Olympian and U.S. Record Holder for Sunday, July 29 Race. SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - (July 20, 2007) - Approximately 17,000 entrants will line up for The San Francisco Marathon(tm) and its companion two half marathons and 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, July 29. That impressive number will make the 2007 race the largest marathon event ever run over the streets of San Francisco. Participants in The San Francisco Marathon(tm)this year hail from all 50 states and 44 countries. The top entrants in the full marathon (26.2 miles) feature event and half marathon staples include rising star and Fresno, Calif. native Fernando Cabada who recently set a U.S. 25-kilometer record, and 1996 Olympian Linda Somers Smith (Arroyo Grande, Calif.). Defending men's marathon champion Andrew Cook (Denton, Texas) and women's champion Julia Stamps (now Julia Mallon, Miami, Fla.) are returning for the race. Mallon, a former Santa Rosa High School and Stanford University standout, will compete at the half marathon distance this year. In addition, Rod Dixon, one of the most renowned and amiable distance runners ever, joins the event this year as a special guest. The four-time New Zealand Olympian, who won both Bay to Breakers and the New York City Marathon in 1983, will attend to help jump start The San Francisco Marathon's new RunSFM(tm) Youth Running Program aimed at garnering physical fitness among local youngsters. West End Management, under the guidance of Peter Nantell, took over the reigns of San Francisco's largest marathon in 2003. Since then, the event has steadily prospered and grown. Today, The San Francisco Marathon(tm) includes a citywide 26.2-mile marathon that features a tour of the Golden Gate Bridge and other city landmarks, two half marathons (13.1 miles), and a 5-kilometer run/walk. Additionally, a Progressive Marathon encourages participants to incrementally run or walk 26.2 miles over a period of weeks or months and complete the final part of their cumulative marathon by participating in the 5K on race day. The event's unique Cause to Run program has raised $2 million for over 100 local charity organizations since 2003. "We're thrilled by the record number of participants this year," said Sophia Li, the marathon's Race Director. "This year we've focused on community development by creating a youth running program, expanding our outreach to local organizations, and partnering with Mayor Gavin Newsom's Shape Up San Francisco Initiative for increasing opportunities for fitness and good nutrition." Among top runners, the greatest depth this year is in the men's Full
Marathon and women's Second Half Marathon fields. Andrew Cook, 26, won last year's marathon in 2 hours, 26 minutes, and 46 seconds -- the fastest winning men's time in the race since 1999. Fernando Cabada, 25, will pose a serious challenge to Cook's title
defense. Although, as a race newcomer who is unfamiliar with the course, Cabada holds sterling credentials in his young running career. In 2006, the Buchanan High School (Clovis, Calif.) graduate capped his breakout year with a spectacular debut over the marathon distance in Fukuoka, Japan. Cabada's 2:12:27 is one of the fastest debut marathons ever by an American. Also last year, Cabada entered the USA 25-Kilometer Championship as a relative unknown and stole the overall win in 1:14:21, a new American record for the distance. Cabada's debut marathon earned him a selection for the Team USA marathon squad for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, to be held in Osaka, Japan August 24-September 2, 2007. After the World Championships, Cabada will compete at the U.S Men's Olympic Trials Marathon in New York City on November 3, 2007, competing for a slot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. Cook has also qualified for the Trials. Although Cabada intends to run The San Francisco Marathon(tm) as a training run for Osaka, his credentials are by far the best among the male contenders. Michael Wardian (Arlington, VA), 33, with a 2:21:37 best, is another SFM entrant who has qualified for the U.S. Men's Olympic Trials Marathon. Wardian also boasts a Guinness world record for pushing a jog stroller in a marathon (2:42:21), which he set this year while pushing his son, Pierce. The top female entrant in the marathon is Michigan's 30-year-old Yolanda Flamino who recorded a 2:45:19 in her marathon debut last October on the fast Chicago Marathon course. Flamino is a member of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project team based in Rochester Hills, Mich. which supports a number of elite and emerging elite U.S. distance runners. Flamino has qualified for next April's U.S. Women's Olympic Trials Marathon in Boston In the Second Half Marathon both Julia (Stamps) Mallon and Linda Somers Smith are tuning up for the Chicago Marathon in October where they hope to earn qualifying times for the Women's Olympic Trials Marathon. Mallon, 28, set a marathon personal best of 2:46:17 at the 2003 Chicago Marathon, qualifying for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. Somers Smith, however, at age 46, is hoping to qualify for her sixth U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, adding to her impressive string of excellence. Somers Smith's personal best of 2:30:06 was set at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, where she was runner-up, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad. Subsequently, Somers Smith placed 31st at the Olympic Games marathon in Atlanta. The San Luis Obispo-area attorney was also the women's USA Marathon Champion in 1993 and 1994, and placed 7th at the 1995 IAAF World Championships Marathon. Her best half marathon time is a swift 1:11:01. "I'm excited about running in San Francisco again in preparation for
Chicago, where my goal is to quality a sixth time for the Olympic Trials with a (sub-2:39:00) 'A' standard qualifier," Somers Smith said. "I've enjoyed running and racing in San Francisco for the last 24 years. The 1983 San Francisco Marathon was my marathon debut. It was the first time I qualified for what was the first ever Olympic Trials Marathon for women (in 1984)." Other top female entrants in the Second Half Marathon (which is
designated the "elite" half marathon) include San Francisco residents Lisbet Sunshine (age 43, who has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with a sub-2:47:00 'B' standard), Caroline Annis, 26, Magdalena Visser, 38, and Shaluinn Fullove, 29, of Palo Alto, Calif. All four women have run times of 1 hour, 21 minutes or better for the 13.1-mile half marathon distance. The San Francisco Marathon's inaugural RunSFM(tm) Youth Running Program allows San Francisco's underprivileged youth, ages 7 to 17, to train for, and participate in, the marathon's signature Progressive Marathon race without cost. Participation in the eight-week youth training program and the Progressive Marathon is free for local youth and their San Francisco-based youth clubs. Rod Dixon, the flamboyant New Zealand runner who for four years in the early 1980s was the number one runner on the American road racing circuit, joins SFM this year as the 5K Run/Walk's emcee and starter. Dixon, 57, is well known to longtime San Francisco Bay Area running enthusiasts as the men's winner of the 1982 and 1983 Bay to Breakers race. He won a bronze medal for 1,500 meters at the 1972 Olympic Games, and finished 4th at 5,000 meters in the 1976 Olympics. Recently, Dixon founded and kicked off KiDSMARATHON, a program that partners with major marathons around the world and introduces children to running, fitness, and good nutrition. The San Francisco Marathon(tm) will explore the incorporation of KiDSMARATHON into its RunSFM(tm) Youth Running Program for next year. "The alarm bell is sounding relating to child obesity in this country and around the world," Dixon said. "So, I'm really looking forward to working with The San Francisco Marathon team on the continued development of a participation program for children. My involvement with the various activities around this year's marathon will be special for me." Race participants, the general public, and members of the media can meet Dixon on race morning, or at the RunSFM Expo, Friday and Saturday, July 27-28 at Justin Herman Plaza (corner of Market Street and Steuart Street). The Expo will include a RunSFM seminar series at the adjacent Hyatt Regency hotel on Saturday, which is free for the general public. The marathon starts and finishes on the Embarcadero at Mission Street, near Justin Herman Plaza and the Ferry Building. The official starting time is 5:30 a.m. Top runners are expected to reach the finish line at Embarcadero and Folsom at approximately 7:50 a.m.
# # # About The San Francisco Marathon(tm) The San Francisco Marathon(tm) enjoys success as the premier summertime marathon in the U.S. San Francisco's blend of natural beauty, big city charm, and perfect mid-summer running temperatures, make marathon running in San Francisco a truly magical experience. Race events include a full marathon, two half marathons (choose a half), 5K, and Progressive Marathon. The event's unique Cause to Run program has raised $2 million for over 100 local charity organizations since 2003. The 2007 San Francisco Marathon is sponsored by JetBlue Airways, Saturn, WaMu, Cytomax, Hint Water, CLIF Bar, Athletic Endurance, and Organs 'R' Us. REGISTRATION DETAILS and more information about The San Francisco
Marathon(tm), and all of the marathon's events, are available online at www.runsfm.com. MEDIA ACCREDITATION: Contact Mark Winitz, Media Coordinator, at
650-948-0618, 650-799-3319 (mobile), or preferably via e-mail at
[email protected]

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