The following press release from the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Road races today announced most of the elite runners expected to run on June 23. I hope I can take part in this race for the first time. I tweaked my right hamstring today (I need to stretch more!), but I’m hoping it will feel better tomorrow. Good luck to everybody training hard for the event.
Fairfield: Next Sunday’s Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon features top athletes from Ethiopia, Kenya, Russia and the United States. With over 4,800 entries already taken, the ½ marathon race field limit of 5,000 should be reached well before raceday. Nearly 1,500 are expected in next Saturday’s 5K and race entries are likely to be accepted on race day. Both events take place at Fairfield’s Jennings Beach.
Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Girma, last year’s race winner, heads a strong field of elite athletes. Girma boasts the fastest half marathon best in the field, (1:00), and he recently won the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Fellow Ethiopians, Girma Bekele, Worku Beyi and Lishan Yigezu, are expected to challenge Girma. Bekele is has broken 4 minutes in the mle and has run 10 miles in 47:17. Beyi won the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon in 2009. Yigezu has 2:11 marathon best. The Ethiopians will be challenged by a strong group of Kenyan athletes. Amos Sang won April’s Stratton Faxon Danbury Half Marathon. Julius Kibet and Shadrack Kipkorir have respective half marathon bests of 1:01 and 1:02. Recent college graduate and Division II All-American, Glarius Rop, should also challenge for the top spot.
Ethiopia’s Askale Merachi is the favorite in the women’s race. Merachi has won 11 of the 12 races she has run this year. Vermont’s Heidi Westover is expected to challenge Mercachi. Westover won the recent Vermont City Marathon and was second in the 2009 Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon. Russia’s Irina Alexandrova and Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa should also finish near the top. Alexandrova has a half marathon best of 1:13 and Tufa has run 1:10.
Burlington’s Mary Currier, 2000 Stratton Faxon Fairfield Champion, is expected to be the top Connecticut finisher.
Event Coordinator John Bysiewicz states, “This year’s race should be very exciting. Both the men’s and women’s races could be decided in the last few steps.”
A record crowd of over 6,000 runners (from 10 countries, 32 states and the District of Columbia) will participate in the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Road Races this weekend. For event information, visit fairfieldhalf.org or call (203) 481-5933. The Stratton Faxon Law Firm became the event’s Title Sponsor in 2007. The Stratton Faxon Fairfield Road Races are hosted by Fairfield Firefighters and are presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Crystal Rock, The Connecticut Post, 95.9 The FOX, News 12 Connecticut, Robbins Eye Center, The Boston Company, Connecticut Sports Massage Team, The John Patrick Flanagan Foundation, Kayem Foods, Inc., Wade’s Dairy, Seix Advisors LLC, Blue Buffalo, Select Physical Therapy, Chabaso Bakery, and Robeks Premium Fruit Smoothies also support the Fairfield Road Races.