Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce, 2011 Houston, photo by Photorun.net
A Family Affair at Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay
Husband-Wife Team Take Top Honors at 10th Presentation
A husband-wife duo took top honors at the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay today on the Monterey Peninsula. Arizonans Ben Bruce and his wife of only two weeks, Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce, packed a one-two punch to beat out a strong elite field under sunny skies and near perfect running conditions. Among the last elites to register just one month ago, the Bruce's were the first to finish their respective divisions. Ben won the men's race in 1:04:45 and Stephanie won the women's race in 1:12:19.
The men's race took shape quickly as a lead pack of five runners broke away from the rest of the field. Ben Bruce, Samuel Kosgei, Santa Fe, NM, Fred Tumbo, Santa Fe, NM, Joseph Mutinda, Santa Fe, NM, and Ryan Bak, Bend, OR, ran together most of the first seven miles. A 4:52 first mile gave this group of five a huge lead over Eddie Jones, Boise, ID, who was alone in 6th with no other runners in sight. Just prior to the turn-around point between miles 7 and 8, Bruce made a move and none of the others were able to respond. Running three consecutive miles under 4:50, he opened a 30 second lead by mile 10. The three members of the AmeriKenyan Running Club, Kosgei, Tumbo, and Mutinda ran in a pack of three but were unable to close the gap between themselves and Bruce.
Bruce cruised to the finish running the final 5K in 15:19 to win by over one minute. Kosgei and Tumbo raced all the way to the finish with Kosgei taking second in 1:06:00.51, less than one second ahead of Tumbo who finished third in 1:06:00.68. Mutinda held on for 4th in a time of 1:06:39 and Bak rounded out the top five with a time of 1:06:42.
The women's race was a two-way battle until the turn-around point with Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce and Risper Gesabwa, Marietta, GA. running side by side for the first eight miles. This duo was followed closely by Kellyn Johnson, Flagstaff, AZ. Two minutes behind this first group of three, Mary Akor, Hawthorne, CA, and Natalie, Bak, Bend, OR, battled for 4th. As the runners turned around and raced for home, Rothstein-Bruce began to pull away, steadily increasing her lead. She broke the tape in a personal record time of 1:12:19, one one-hundredth of a secong over the 2nd fast time ever run by a woman on this course. Gesabwa finished 2nd in 1:13:40, followed by Johnson in 1:14:30, Akor in 1:17:49, and Bak in 1:17:54.
The Masters (over 40) race for the women featured a battle of three Big Sur masters legends. Lisa Harvey, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a former Olympian took the title for the third straight year in 1:20:44, followed closely by Mary Coordt, Elk Grove, CA, a two time Big Sur International Marathon Champion in a time of 1:20:57. This was the 3rd consecutive year that these two finished first and second in the Masters Division. Christine Kennedy, Los Gatos, CA, a four-time Masters Champion finished third in 1:24:53. Kennedy's time shattered the 55-59 age group record by almost 10 minutes and she now owns the age group record for 45-49, 50-54, and 55-59.
Men's Masters division featured Chris Knorzer, of Rocklin, CA at 1:12:13, closely followed by Tony Torres of Cedar Glen, CA at 1:12:33. Third place went to Martin Koller of Bergisch Gladbach, Germany at 1:19:26.
The 10th Presentation of what is fast becoming one of the most popular events in the western half of the United States saw nearly 7,000 runners greeted by absolutely perfect running conditions. With virtually no wind, and temperatures in the low 50s, the runners were able to enjoy one of the most scenic runs anywhere with bright sunshine and crashing waves along the Pacific shoreline.
Full results can be found at www.bigsurhalfmarathon.org.