Monday, May 5, 2008
Can Ya Say "Kenya?"
OK, this is the latest update. In the newspaper business, we called this the "sub" story, as in substitute. So anyway . . . The Kenyan express blew through the Southland of Chicago on Sunday as professional runners Matthew Chesang, now living in Manhattan, Kan., and William Serem, a resident of Coon Rapids, Minn., went 1-2 in the debut Palos Bank Southwest Half Marathon in Palos Heights. Chesang, who logged some time at Kansas State, won in 1:05:31 to Serem's 1:05:33. Local standout Jeff Jonaitis was third in 1:06:20, one week after running a strong Lakefront 10. A couple of notes on Serem: He won the San Sebastian marathon in Spain, back in 2006 with a 2:16:20, and a month ago in Tennessee, placed second in a big half-marathon in Knoxville. On the women's side it was another story as two locals beat a Kenyan! Bridget Montgomery, a Universal Sole runner and native of Joliet who ran for Boston College, won in 1:20:48, comfortably ahead of Alona Banai of Oak Park, an up-and-comer with her own story, which I'll relate at a later time, who ran 1:22:45. Kenyan Areba Moraa, who on April 8 won the 56K Xstrata Ultra marathon in South Africa, was third in 1:22:52. Montgomery, according to what I've been able to find, smashed her P.R., which had been 1:23:17. On the men's side, one of the pre-race favorites, Kenyan Wilson Chepkwony, finished seventh and Ravenswood 5K champ Chad Ware finished sixth. Prize money is what brought these athletes to town. It was $1,000, $750, $500, $400, $300, $200 for men and women plus masters and veterans money. What a great event. Kudos to Runnng for Kicks. Full results are posted at www.chicagoaa.com (link on right). I'll update again if needed.