2010 Naples Daily News Marathon
The streets of downtown Naples were packed ...
NAPLES — After missing out on last year’s title by a second, a sore hamstring wasn’t going to slow down Buzunesh Deba at the Naples Daily News Half Marathon.
Deba, last year’s runner-up, broke free from a pack of four runners midway through the women’s race Sunday before winning the 22nd annual event in 1 hour, 12 minutes and 49.6 seconds. Her margin of victory over Everlyne Lagat (1:14.54.7) doesn’t appear all that impressive, but Deba was never seriously challenged during the final few miles.
A 22-year-old Ethiopian who now lives in New York City, Deba set a personal best time for a half marathon. She won $2,000 as the top women’s finisher and was eighth overall.
“It was good,” Deba said while rubbing her left hamstring on a bench in Cambier Park. “(Lagat) was close, but I stayed ahead the last four miles.”
Deba is the second straight Ethiopian to win the Half Marathon. Belainesh Gebre won last year’s race in 1:12.14 but did not run this year.
While Deba competed in her second Half Marathon, it was the first time in Naples for runner-up Lagat.
Lagat, 29, is originally from Kenya but now trains in Tucson, Ariz. It was the first race of the year for her, and she said it was a good start to the season.
“I’m happy,” Lagat said. “For the first race, (my time) was okay. I don’t mind. It’s where I should be at right now.”
Bunched in with third-place finisher Sonja Friend-Uhl (1:17.50.8) and fourth-place Ramilya Burangulova (1:18.10.5), Lagat challenged Deba for about half the race. After about 40 minutes, though, Lagat said she fell back and Deba took control.
Both Deba and Lagat said they plan to return to Naples next year for the 23rd running of the Half Marathon.
Aside from her personal best time, Deba had another reason to smile Sunday morning. Her husband, Worku Beyi, finished second in the men’s race for the second year in a row.
Friend-Uhl, 38, won $1,000 as the top American woman. The third-place finisher recently was named the men’s and women’s cross country coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Division II school. A veteran distance runner, Friend-Uhl competed in the 1,500-meters at the 2000 Olympic Trials.
Burangulova, a 48-year-old Russian and former Olympian, was the women’s Masters champion. Tatiana Titova, last year’s Masters winner, finished eighth overall in 1:20.51.6.
Sarah Flament finished fifth in 1:19.07.4. Flament, a former All-American at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, has qualified for the U.S. trials for the 2012 Olympic marathon.
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