Men’s marathon has repeat winner for the first time ever

AKRON, Ohio (Sept. 26, 2015) – A new course and ideal weather conditions led to a banner morning for the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay presented by Time Warner Cable.

The day was capped off with Teklu Deneke of Flagstaff, Ariz., winning the full marathon with a time of 2:22:21, marking the first time in the 13-year history of the Akron Marathon that there has been a repeat winner. Nearly 14,000 runners participated in all three events on a perfect September Saturday, as well as the Kids Fun Run Friday evening. The weekend capped off the final leg of the inaugural Rubber City Race Series.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day, with better times,” said Brian Polen, Akron Marathon Race Director. “It’s always a risk when changing a course and this is the ultimate reward – to see records broken and a lot of smiling faces crossing the finish line.”

The festivities started Friday evening with a record breaking Kids Fun Run that saw more than 1,600 participants ages 14 and under complete the 1-mile course. All told, runners came from 41 states and eight different countries, while record times were recorded in the men’s and women’s half marathon ­– both in the open and masters divisions.

“We made a lot of changes this year and you never quite know how that’s going to turn out, but today was a wonderful end to a fantastic weekend,” said Anne Bitong, Akron Marathon President/Executive Director. “It was great to see the first year of the Rubber City Race Series finish on such a high note. To have more than 20,000 participants take part in the series is amazing.”

The runner-up in the men’s full marathon was Peter Chebet of Hebron, Ky., finishing with a time of 2:25:42, and Mengistu Nebsi of New York, N.Y., crossed the finish line at 2:26:13.

On the women’s side, Irina Alexandrova of Hebron, Ky., finished with a time of 2:39:45, and Jackie Pirtle-Hall of St. Charles, Miss., came in with a time of 2:48:33. The third place finisher was Margie Atthow of Beaudesert, Australia, finishing with a time of 2:52:20.

In the half marathon, the top three finishers all beat the previous record of 1:05:38. Nicholas Too of Grand Prairie, Texas, broke the previous record by almost two minutes, finishing in 1:03:58. Paul Muturi of Hebron, Ky., was second in 1:05:14, and Peter Chebii of Grand Prairie, Texas, finished third with a time of 1:05:31.

In another record-breaking run, this time on the women’s side, Hellen Jepkurgat of Grand Prairie, Texas, claimed the women’s half with a time of 1:14:18, just four seconds faster than the previous record. Elizabeth Herndon of Kent, Ohio was second with a time of 1:16:30, while Ellie Hess of Chesterland, Ohio, turned in a time of 1:18:20.

The top finishers in the masters (40 years and older) marathon competition were, Esteban Vanegas of Alma, Mich., finishing in 2:40:58, Scott Reamer of West Newton, Pa., with a time of 2:44:54 and Damon Blackford of Akron, Ohio with a time of 2:46:32. The top female marathon masters finishers were Beth Woodward of Orrville, Ohio, with a time of 2:58:10, Teresa Ferguson of Akron, Ohio, with a time of 3:03:25 and Ingrid Weatherby of Akron, Ohio, with a time of 3:09:36.

The top five-person male team relay effort was turned in by Team Ohio South, finishing with a time of 2:18:46. The top women’s squad was Team Ohio with a time of 2:56:19, while SERC – VR won the mixed competition with a time of 2:27:44.

This year, prize money was awarded in the marathon to the top Ohio residents regardless of age, a first in the history of the race. The top Ohio runners in the marathon were Brent Martin (2:30:37, Gambier, Ohio) on the men’s side and Mallory Kreider (2:58:05, Kingsville, Ohio) on the women’s.

It was announced Thursday night at the VIP reception that the 2016 series will be known as the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, following the signing of a five-year partnership.

For the inaugural Rubber City Race Series in 2015, the Thirsty Dog 8k & 1-mile (June 27) and Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k (Aug. 15) both sold out their 3,000-participant caps. The series dates were developed to help guide runners through a typical training schedule leading up to the marquee events. The 2016 events will be held June 25, August 13 and Sept. 24.


About the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation

The Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a non-profit group founded in 2002 to provide a world-class marathon and other events that promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, galvanize the community and benefit charitable organizations. This year will mark the 13th running of September’s marquee event (Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run), which has grown by more than 300 percent since its inception in 2003. The series featured new race dates in June (8k & 1-Mile) and August (Half Marathon & 10k), providing greater opportunity for participation on all levels in the sport of running. Additional information on the series is available at or by calling (330) 434-2RUN (2786).