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Over 22,000 Runners Rock Seattle

Sheila Croft defends women's marathon title in finishing fifth overall at Rock 'n' Roll Seattle.

Sheila Croft defends women’s marathon title in finishing fifth overall at Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle. 

SEATTLE — Miles of entertainment under cool, cloudy skies delivered a true Seattle experience for more than 22,000 participants on Saturday morning at the 4th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & ½ Marathon benefiting the American Cancer Society.  The wet weather subsided for most of the morning, resulting in near ideal running conditions.

Sheila Croft of nearby Redmond, Wash. defended her marathon title in epic fashion, placing 5th overall with a victory that put her nearly 12 minutes ahead of the second-place woman. An avid triathlete who won her age group at both the full Ironman and half Ironman world championships last year, Croft finished in two hours, 41 minutes and 40 seconds to annihilate her previous personal best by over nine minutes.

PHOTO GALLERY: Elite Races At Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle

“I’m really happy. I didn’t have any expectations, but I went out to win it, gave it my all and pushed as hard as I could,” said Croft, 37, a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center. “I really enjoyed the new course and the weather was perfect, you couldn’t have asked for better conditions than we had today.”

Croft won her first marathon at Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle last year in 2:50:17, and recently ran 2:48:17 at the Boston Marathon in April, where she finished 13th. Romanian Olympic marathoner Nuta Olaru, who recently became an American citizen, finished second in 2:53:28.

Ethiopian Teshome Kokebe, 30, took first place in the men’s marathon, finishing in 2:31:47. Kokebe, who resides in locally in Lynnwood, finished second at the event last year.

“It feels good to win, but the second half was hard for me with my hamstring feeling bad,” said Kokebe, whose time was more than ten minutes slower than his personal best. “The course is really challenging. After the half marathon and marathon separated I was out in front by myself and nobody was helping me push the pace.”

Robert Scribner, 26, of Rochester Hills, Mich., won the half marathon in 1:06:00. Scribner runs with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, an elite running team sponsored by Brooks Sports, which is headquartered in Bothell, Wash. The company will soon relocate to downtown Seattle.

RACE PHOTOS: Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Race Day

“This is probably the biggest half marathon I’ve ever won and it was a lot of fun. I knew the course was pretty tough so I just wanted to compete, but I found myself out in front pretty early,” said Scribner. “I was rolling pretty well through 10 miles and then the next couple of miles were eye openers with the hills, so I just try to remind myself the uphill is going to end and I knew there would be downhill after that. Just get through it and then you can make up some time. I was really happy to hold on for the win.”

Kelly Calway, 28, of Manitou Springs, Colo. won the women’s half marathon in one hour, 18 minutes and 18 seconds. A member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program runner and Bronze Star Medal recipient, Calway finished 25th at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials  this past January in a personal best 2:37:10.

“The race was great, I was totally stoked to come back and win,” said Calway, who place third here last year. “The course changes were cool, it was challenging definitely with more hills than I expected, but you got to see a lot of scenic views. There were spectators everywhere and I felt like all of Seattle came to cheer us on.”

2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Results

Name, Age, Hometown, Time, Prize Money

Men’s Marathon

1.                  Teshome Kokebe, 30, Lynwood, WA, 2:31:47, $1,000

2.                  Cheyne Inman, 26, Vacaville, CA, 2:34:44, $500

3.                  Eric Brill, 23,  Bellingham, WA, 2:37:50, $250

Women’s Marathon

1.                  Sheila Croft, 37, Redmond, WA, 2:41:41, $1,000

2.                  Nuta Olaru, 41, Romania, 2:53:28, $500

3.                  Danya Crawford, 32, Midway, UT, 2:55:52, $250

Men’s Half Marathon

1.                  Robert Scribner, 26, Rochester Hills, MI, 1:05:58, $1,000

2.                  Will Christian, 29, Annapolis, MD, 1:08:35, $500

3.                  Justin Englund, 22, Pullman, WA, 1:09:25, $250

Women’s Half Marathon

1.                  Kelly Calway, 30, Manitou Springs, CO, 1:18:16, $1,000

2.                  Erin Richard, 26, Rochester, MI, 1:19:45, $500

3.                  Hallie Janssen, 37, Portland, OR, 1:20:47, $250