Locals Make Great Time In Rock 'N' Roll Marathon

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A pair of veteran runners led the Rim Country charge at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday.

Tom Cooka took first in the male 75 to 79 age division of the half marathon and Payson Regional Medical Center surgical nurse, Pat Myers, was fourth in the 60 to 64-years women's division of the full marathon.

Neither runner is a stranger on the local or national racing scenes.

Cooka competes in just about every town-sponsored 5K race, has been a longtime competitor on the Senior Olympics racing circuit, runs each year in the Lori Piestewa Native American Games and, as a 58-year-old, was a member of the Northland Pioneer College track team.

In finishing first on Sunday in Tempe he was timed in 2:00.2, which bettered his last year's clocking of 2:04.18 when he was second in his age division.

Meyers, a veteran runner for more than 25-years, has competed successfully in marathons around the country including San Francisco, San Diego and in previous Rock 'n' Roll events.

Her time over the 26.2-mile course was 4:32.55, just 16 seconds off the pace of age group champion Andrena Mulligan of Eagle Pass, Texas.

The only other local runner to enter the full marathon was 37-year-old Lisa Cremer, who finished in 5:09.20.

In the half marathon, 38-year-old Jason Cress, who has competed in three rock 'n' roll events, was 31st in his division, touring the course in 1:29.27. The time represented a marked improvement over each of his past performances. In 2006, he was clocked in 1:39.24 and two years ago in 1:41.35.

Other Payson entrants in the half marathon included Mike Foil (male 55 to 59 years: 2:02.1), Nick Sanders (male 18 to 24 years: 1:48.54), Ann Leonard (female 55 to 59 years): 3:29.36), H. Grant Leonard (male 50 to 54 years: 3:30.16) and Jeanette Boeck (female 50 to 54 years: 3:30.17).

Race officials said, some times in the half marathon had to be reviewed and confirmed on video because power surges at the finish line disrupted timing devices and clocks.

Record attendance

More than 37,000 entrants turned out for the world's largest marathon/half marathon, which began on downtown Phoenix streets and ended near the Arizona State University campus in Tempe.

The runners were greeted by highly unusual, below-freezing starting temperatures that caught most entrants by surprise.

Although first place finisher Terefe Yae of Ethiopia complained at the finish line about the temperatures, he won the grueling test in 2:24.13. The win represented his second in the past three years. For his win, Yae was awarded $20,000 in prize money.

Adanech Zekiros, also of Ethiopia, took first place in the women's marathon in 2:31.43 and also won $20,000.

In the half marathon event, 24-year-old Morten Bostom of Flagstaff out-dueled former Alchesay High School star Kyle Goklish, now a student at the University of Arizona, for the men's championship. Bostrom was clocked in 1:06.33 and Goklish in 1:06:35.

Liz Wilson of Eugene, Ore. won the women's run in 1:18:3

Following the event, sponsors estimated that of the runners entered, about 2,300 represented 13 official charities for which more the $5.8 million was raised.

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