10-year-old Arielle Avina (Murrieta, Cali.) shocked the finish line crowd today (Sunday June 3) as she won the female division at the Synchrony Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego 5K presented by Brooks. With this year’s Boston Marathon Champion, Desiree Linden on hand to support and inspire runners, Avina found an extra gear past other competitors finishing the race in a time of 19:20 as she became the youngest female to ever win a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series 5K event. Baxter Arguinchona from Cardiff, California took home the men’s 5K race with a time of 16:59. (06/05/2018) ⚡AMP
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar of Ethiopia won the women's Synchrony Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday while Titus Ekiru of Kenya upset Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia in the men's race. The elite runners in the half and full marathon had finished long before the race was halted for about 10 minutes and rerouted after a police officer accidentally shot himself in the leg while pursuing a hit-and-run suspect who pointed a weapon at police and was eventually arrested on the roof of a parking structure near the finish line in downtown. Defar, a two-time Olympic champion in the 5,000 meters, finished in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 26 seconds, well ahead of Jane Kibii of Kenya, who clocked 1:12:00. Kaitlyn James of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was third in 1:13:54. Ekiru won the men's race in 1:01:02, 16 seconds ahead of Lilesa, who won the silver medal in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. Josphat Kipchirchir of Kenya was third in 1:02:21. (06/04/2018) ⚡AMP
Meseret Defar donated her 2004 Olympic 5,000-meter gold medal to a church museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She was 20 years old when that one was draped around her neck in Athens. Eight years later at the London Games, Defar became the only woman to win two gold medals in the 5,000. That medal is on display in the hallway of her Addis Ababa home. Since 2016, when knee pain prevented her from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Games — “That was the most difficult time for me.” — Defar has focused on marathon training. It has been a difficult transition for one of Ethiopia’s most revered runners. Because of recurring knee injuries, she still has not debuted at 26.2 miles. Come Sunday, when nearly 20,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes take to the streets for the 21st Synchrony Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & Half Marathon, Defar will be among them. She’s running the half. If her body cooperates, she hopes to make her marathon debut come fall, likely in Chicago, New York or Berlin.
Anna Hackenberg suffered punctured lungs, fractured ribs, a broken collarbone and broken leg. She developed pneumonia in the hospital. Her spinal cord was severed, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. Lying in the hospital bed, Hackenberg couldn’t feel her legs when she awoke. She was surrounded by her mother, father, brother and sister. But they didn’t want to deliver the devastating news. A doctor friend, Erin King, was also in the room. “Am I ever going to walk again?” Hackenberg asked King. King summarized the freak accident, then said, “No, you’ll never walk again.” “Well then,” Hackenberg said, “I will be a great swimmer.” Hackenberg, 31, was training for the Synchrony Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon when the accident occurred on April 13, 2017. Since then, she has swum, tried surfing, snow skied, practiced yoga, and hit golf balls. On Sunday, her arms cranking a hand-cycle wheelchair, Hackenberg will attend to unfinished business, racing in the 21st Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. At first, she planned to tackle the event’s half marathon. Asked why she would double the challenge, Hackenberg, sitting in her Little Italy apartment, her 13-pound rescue dog Max perched on her lap, smiled and said, “Why not?” (06/01/2018) ⚡AMP