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Fast Runners Flock To Nashville

Top domestic and international talents will compete in Saturday’s Country Music Marathon.

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

If you had high hopes of winning Saturday’s Country Music Marathon in Nashville, you might want to set a more modest goal. Some pretty fast runners are planning to show up. An interesting wrinkle is that many on the men’s side are making marathon debuts after achieving great success at shorter distances. Here’s a quick look at the top male and female registrants.


Jesse Armijo (27), USA

Armijo set a half-marathon PR of 1:04:55 in winning the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon in 2008. Nashville will be his first marathon and he hopes to achieve an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:19 or better.

Richard Bett (20), Kenya

The young Bett is by far the fastest track runner in the field, boasting a 5000m PR of 13:30. He has also proven himself on the roads, having won the Anheuser-Bush Colonial Half Marathon in February.

Juan Carlos Cardona (35), Colombia

Cardona is a two-time Olympian for Colombia with a marathon PR of 2:14:30, set in the 2003 Country Music Marathon.

Wilson Chepkowony (29), Kenya

Chepkowony has already run two marathons this year – both in February – winning the Gasparilla Marathon in Florida. His PR, set in 2006, is 2:14:59.

Westley Keating (28), USA

The strongest American hope in the field, Keating has a 10,000m PR of 28:24 that he set at the University of Texas. He won the inaugural Dallas Half Marathon earlier this year and has a half-marathon PR of 1:05:24.

Joseph Mutinda (36), Kenya

Mutinda set his marathon PR of 2:13:19 at the age of 35 last year in finishing third at the Torreon Marathon.

Samuel Ndereba (33), Kenya

Brother of the great Catherine Ndereba, Samuel Ndereba is no mean runner himself, boasting a half-marathon PR of 1:01:50 that he set at last year’s Philadelphia Distance Run.

Genna Tufa (27), Ethiopia

Tufa won both the Memphis Marathon (2:17:38) and the Quad Cities Marathon (2:18:28) in 2008.


Serkalem Abrha (22), Ethiopia

The young Abrha finished eighth in last year’s ING New York City Marathon (2:37:36) and has a marathon PR of 2:36:20. She also won last year’s Great Hartford Marathon.

Yolanda Fernandez (28), Colombia

Fernandez won the 2009 ING Miami Half Marathon with a PR time of 1:16:01.

Tamara Karrh (40), USA

A virtual lock to win the master’s division, Karrh ran 2:40:22 in Minneapolis last year.

Allison Kreutzer (23), USA

Kreuzer makes her marathon debut in pursuit of an Olympic Trials qualifying time (2:47).

Isabella Mokeira (25), Kenya

Mokeira has PR’s of 1:16:01 for the half marathon and 2:46 for the marathon.

Liliya Yadzhak (39), Russia

Yadzhak has the fastest marathon PR in the field by far, at 2:29:22.