Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seattle Marathon

By Terry Wood of The Seattle Times

Jynocel Basweti almost took the weekend off. Instead, the Kenyan native chose to enter the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon at nearly the last minute, and in cool, cloudy conditions Saturday morning broke away from a front-running, all-Africa foursome at the 21st mile to claim the lead and eventually top honors in Seattle's second-annual mashup of music and endurance.

Sopagna Eap of Eugene, Ore., took first place in the women's marathon, all part of an event (marathon and half-marathon) that attracted more than 27,000 runners, 45 musical acts, dozens of cheerleading squads and hundreds of volunteers.

None was swifter than the 23-year-old Basweti, a member of the AmeriKenyan Running Club who trains in Santa Fe, N.M. His current high-mileage training regimen initially dissuaded him from running in Seattle.

"I decided on Wednesday that I was coming," he said.

The winning time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 19 seconds gave Basweti his fourth marathon victory in 2010 (two in Georgia, one in Mississippi) and his fifth win in his last six marathons.

Following a 7 a.m. start in Tukwila, Basweti, fellow Kenyans Mark Chepses, 34, and David Cheruiyot, 29, and Ethiopian Kassahun Kabiso, 26, ran in a tight pack for the first 16 miles. Kabiso faded first. Cheruiyot dropped back before the 20-mile mark and Basweti shook Chepses a mile later as the pair emerged from the Battery St. tunnel.

"I had to make a move to see if I could drop these guys," said Basweti, who ran the 21st mile in 5 minutes, 9 seconds to pull away from Chepses. Chepses placed second at the Qwest Field finish line 32 seconds behind Basweti. Cheruiyot took third (2:21.58).