A pair of Kenyans won big at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on Sunday, May 19, as Philemon Terer topped the men’s field and Sarah Kiptoo was the women’s champion. Both runners posted times fast enough to double their prize money, thanks to $3,000 time bonuses.
Terer, who notched his first-ever marathon victory with a time of 2:17:37, was thrilled to pick up the extra cash, which comes with breaking 2:20. As he told Cleveland.com, he’ll put his winnings toward paying for his 6-year-old son’s education.
“I am so happy,” Terer said. “There’s nothing like a bonus.”
Kiptoo, Terer’s teammate at the AmeriKenyan Running Club, trimmed more than 10 minutes off of her personal best when she crossed the finish line in 2:33:42. For female competitors, the bonus comes with breaking 2:40—something only one other runner, 2012 champion Mary Akor, managed to do today. Akor finished second with a time of 2:36:03, while Joanna Johnson captured third, completing the 26.2-mile course in a personal-best 2:48:43.
“I enjoy it because it’s a long distance,” Kiptoo said. “It’s not easy, but I enjoy it.”
One runner who’d agree with that “not easy” part is Alana Hadley, the 16-year-old North Carolina phenom who made headlines—including one in Sunday’s New York Times—for making her marathon debut. Hadley had hoped to break 2:40, but after holding third place at the race’s halfway mark, she faltered in the second half, finishing in 2:58:22 and placing sixth in the women’s division.
The trouble started when the tenth-grader stepped in a pothole and “jolted” her hamstring, according to Cleveland.com.
"It just got progressively worse as I went on," Hadley said. "It was definitely a crazy experience trying to power through and just keep finishing."
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg