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German woman wins

The cool Sunday morning breeze and breath-taking view along a picturesque coastline was the ideal route for hundreds of participants who competed in the 2nd Annual Marathon Bahamas. The grueling 26.2-mile road race, which is also being used as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, had a changing of the guard this year, as it was won by a female. In fact, three of the top six spots in the full marathon were captured by women.

Leading the way was 34-year old Susan Maissenbacher of Germany. She crossed the finish line, set up at Arawak Cay, in 3:02:39. The overall male title, for the full marathon, was won by Joel Pettit. He crossed the finish line in 3:23:19. David Holmen finished third in 3:23:33, and Susan Maguire powered through the line in fourth place in 3:29:50. She was followed closely by Rhonda Claridge who ran 3:29:59 for fifth. Coming in sixth was Randy Thurston in 3:35:40.

“It was very hard, at kilometer 13,” said Maissenbacher.”It was up and down at the end of the bridges and at the beginning. I was running alone up to 15 kilometers. It was very hard at the end because I was running alone.

“Overall the race was good. The weather, it was a little bit of a problem because I came from Germany on Friday. Germany is very cold and here is very warm. It was a little hard for me to adjust, but I did. I like the race, it was very nice, the people are great. I have never been here before, so it is wonderful.”

The official time ran yesterday by the German runner is under the qualifying time, for her age group, for the Boston Marathon. The qualifying time for the Boston Marathon, which is listed on the race’s website, is 3:40 for women between the ages of 18-34. The Boston Marathon will be ran on Monday, April 18, 2011.

The marathon started at the Junkanoo Beach site and took the runners along Bay Street, heading east. Runners went over both bridges, and continued east along Bay Street and on to Fort Montagu. They continued right on to Village Road and then west along Shirley Street. The race continued on to Cumberland Street, West Bay Street and on to Cable Beach.

Half marathon participants made a U-turn at the Nassau Beach Hotel and proceeded to Arawak Cay. Persons competing in the full marathon continued along West Bay Street to Nirvana Beach, where they turned around and proceeded to the finish line at Arawak Cay.

Winning the half-marathon race was German Bresser Carsten in 1:16:40. Bahamian O’Neil Williams was second in 1:20:05 and Jason Williams finished third in 1:24:07. The top overall female was Kim Pawletter. She ran 1:26:59 which placed her fifth in the overall standings. The time of 1:28:04 crowned Tim Smit the top master male. He trailed closely behind Pawletter in the overall placing. The top resident female was Ellen Key, O’Neil Williams won the top resident male.

Carsten is a professional mountain biker who won the 2009/10 Frankfurt marathons. His personal best time in the half marathon is 1:10:39, ran in Karlsruhe, Germany last year. Pawletter is also marathon standout. She has qualified three times in the Olympic Marathon Trials. She used the half marathon as preparation for the 2011 U.S. National Marathon Championships.

O’Neil Williams said: ”The race went fairly well. When I started off, I had a good gap on the field but the guy from Germany caught me. We started to move away from the rest of the field, but as soon as we got to the eighth mile area, I caught a stitch in the side and I was not able to hold onto the pace, so he pulled away. I knew I had to let him go if I wanted to continue. I am pleased to know that I finished, at least, so I think I did fairly well.”

This was the first time O’Neil Williams competed in the race. He revealed that he wanted to compete last year but was unable to do so because he registered late. O’Neil Williams is an 800 meters(m)/1,500m runner, who has represented The Bahamas at various track and field meets.

Competing for the second time in the half marathon race was top female resident Key who said she was pleased with the end result. Even though she improved her time from a year ago, Key said that moving up to the full marathon is not an option right now. She said she will be back next year to defend her title.

“This time I did about nine minutes faster than last year, so I am definitely happy and pleased,” she said.”I honestly don’t train that much. We started running about two months ago, casually running a couple times of the week, but in order to train for this one, we only ran about 10 miles, that’s about it. It wasn’t difficult for me. I think that some people just have a natural love for running and I am one of those persons. I love to run, so that kind of pulls me through.

“I don’t think so (moving up to the full marathon). I have a couple of knee problems. I just recently had an MRI(Magnetic Resonance Imaging)so I wasn’t even suppose to be doing this one, so more than likely, no, but maybe one day. I will be back though, to defend my title in the half.”

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