The Highs and Lows of the 18th Philadelphia Marathon


PHILADELPHIA, PA--The 18th running of the Philadelphia Marathon, the Philadelphia Half-Marathon, and the Rothman Institute 8K had incredible highs and tragic lows. Two runners died. Twenty-one-year-old University of Pennsylvania senior Jeffrey Lee died after he completed the half marathon, and a White 40-year-old male collapsed while running the marathon and then died a short while later. When this Runner’s Gazette writer completed this article the day after the marathon, the race organizers still did not release the name of the 40-year-old dead runner.*
Prior to the Marathon, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter was quite excited about the upcoming races. In an exclusive interview, Nutter told this Runner’s Gazette writer that this was the first year that the marathon (and the other two races) would compost. Nutter said: “The Philadelphia Marathon is only one of six sanctioned races in the nation that has full composting capabilities. So with the marathon, there’s paper cups and other materials. We’re seeking to gather those things up compost them save, landfill space and protect the environment all at the same time that people are running and having a good time.”
The women’s division of the marathon this past November 20 was quite momentous because it was the first time in the marathon’s 18-year history that a runner won two years in a row.

Mariska Kramer of the Netherlands, 37, won the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon 2:35:46, and she won the previous year with a 2:38:55 clocking.

In discussing her 2011 win, Kramer said: “I was hoping to win again. I was confident about my own preparation.”

No one challenged Kremer, as runner-up, Tezeta Dengersa, 31, of Ethiopia, trailed by over eight minutes, 2:44:05. Asked how it felt to be unchallenged, Kremer answered: “I don’t care. I work out all the time on my own. It’s nice to have competition, it gives focus, but I don’t need it.”

The marathon course and the wind were more challenging than the opposition.

“Coming from a flat country, the course and hills were difficult,” said Kremer. “The wind made it especially tough. I ran the last 10K against the wind.”

The men’s field was more competitive as Folisho Tuko, 25 of Ethiopia finished first, 2:19:16, and runner-up Kevin Pool of Folsom, CA, trailed by six seconds, 2:19:22.
Tuko said through interpreter Alem Kahsay, “I didn’t lead the race. I just followed. After 40 kilometers, I took the lead. I was thinking I could win.” However, Tuko’s coach Mike Barnow was less optimistic.

“I was at the halfway point, and he was a lot further back than I thought he would be,” said Barnow. “I was worried because he usually likes to race in the front. There were three or four guys ahead of him.

Pool’s goal was to run under 2:19. It was his third try this year, and he had not yet done it.

“At about 18 miles, I was in 5th place,” said Pool. “I was a minute out of the lead. By 20 miles, I moved up a spot. I got passed, then I passed some people in the last mile. I ended up second. I tried to catch the leader, but I didn’t have enough.”

The men’s field of the half-marathon and 8K had identical first and second place finishers. On Saturday, November 19, 2011, Samuel Ndereba, 34, of Kenya won the 8K, 23:44, and fellow countryman John Itati, 27, trailed by one second, 23:45. The next day, Ndereba won the half-marathon, 1:04:04 and Itati finished second, 1:04:23. They both train together in Royersford, PA under the management of Lisa Buster.

When asked how it felt to lose to Ndereba two days in a row, Itati laughed and said in broken English: “It doesn’t matter. He’s my training partner. I’m glad I beat everyone else.” He was quick to add that he had beaten Ndereba in other races. After winning two races, two days in a row, Ndereba said in broken English: “I did not know if I could win. The competition was good.”

In the women’s 8K field Bekelech Bedada, 19, of Ethiopia, won with a 26:08 clocking, and the next day she finished second in the half-marathon, 1:13:23. The first female half-marathon finisher was thirty-year-old Ethiopian Yihunlish Delelecha, 1:12:42.

*Editor's note: The 40-year-old runner who died has been identified as G. Chris Gleason of Clifton Park, NY. We send our deepest sympathies to the families and friend of both runners who died.


PHILADELPHIA MARATHON (top five male finishers):

1. Folisho Tuko, 25, Ethiopia, resides: High Falls, NY 2:19:16
2. Kevin Pool, 28, Folsom, CA 2:19:22
3. Hillary Cheruiyot, 30, Kenya, resides: Coon Rapids, MN 2:19:57
4. Jynocel Basweti, Kenya 2:21:01
5. David Bedoya, 34, Spain, Resides: Somerville, MA 2:21:53

PHILADELPHIA MARATHON (top five female finishers):

1. Mariska Kramer (first repeat winner in the full Philadelphia
           Marathon’s 18-year history), 37, The Netherlands 2:35:46
2. Tezeta Dengersa, 31, Ethiopia, resides: Washington, DC 2:44:05
3. Jodie Conway, 35, Framingham, MA 2:44:09
4. Donna Palisca, 34, Bryn Mawr, PA 2:44:41
5. Samantha Howard, 25, Lancaster, PA 2:45:45

PHILADELPHIA HALF-MARATHON (top five male finishers):

1. Samuel Ndereba, 34, Kenya, resides: Royersford, PA 1:04:04
2. John Itati, 37, Kenya, resides: Royersford, PA 1:04:23
3. Kipyegon Kirui, 31, Kenya, resides: Chapel Hill, NC 1:04:28
4. Ryan Blood, 26, Summerdale, PA 1:04:36
5. Steve Hallinan, 25, Washington, DC 1:04:36

PHILADELPHIA HALF-MARATHON (top five female finishers):

1. Yihunlish Delelecha, 30, Ethiopia, resides: Washington, DC 1:12:42
2. Bekelech Bedada, 19, Ethiopia, resides: New York, NY 1:13:23
3. Amanda Marino, 22, Bryn Mawr, PA 1:13:42
4. Hellen Jemutai, 29, Kenya, resides: Chapel Hill, NC 1:13:46
5. Lilian Mariita, 23, Kenya, resides: Hebron, KY 1:14:15

Rothman Institute 8K

Men’s Race Results:

1.        Samuel Ndereba, 34, Kenya, resides: Royersford, Pa. 23:44
2         John Itati, 27, Kenya, resides: Royersford, Pa. 23:45
3.        Derese Rashaw, 29, Ethiopia, resides: Bronx, N.Y. 23:50
4.        Kipyegon Kirui, 31, Kenya, resides: Chapel Hill, N.C. 24:08
5.  Daniel Lewis, 23, Staten Island, N.Y. 24:16

Rothman Institute 8K

Women’s Race:

1.        Bekelech Bedada, 19, Ethiopia, resides: New York, N.Y. 26:08
2.        Carmen Hussar, 34, Canada, resides: Ardmore, Pa. 26:12
3.        Lauren Centrowitz, 25, Washington, D.C. 26:51
4.        Alemtsehay Misganaw, 31, Kenya, resides: New York, N.Y. 26:54
5.        Hellen Jemutai, 29, Kenya, resides: Chapel Hill, N.C. 27:11