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Kenyan wins White Rock Marathon December 14, 2008

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By CAMERON MAUN / The Dallas Morning News Windy conditions made for slow times from the elite runners at Sunday’s Dallas White Rock Marathon.

Kenyan Noah Serem won in an unofficial time of two hours, 22 minutes and 8 seconds. It was the slowest winning time at the White Rock Marathon since 2002, when Ernesto Cabellero won in 2:32.12.

Serem defeated countryman Edward Kippum by 20 seconds. Kippum was also the runner-up in 2007, when the finished the race more than seven minutes faster.

For the women, 2006 winner Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia won in an unofficial time of 2:37.18. It was the slowest winning time for the women’s race since 2004. An intense low-pressure system in the plains resulted in strong south winds with gusts to 40 mph and consistent readings in the 20-30 mph range.

Half marathon winners: Karim Elmabchour, of Moracco, won the men’s half marathon in an unofficial time of 1:04.54. Elmabchour, who now trains and resides in Albuquerque, N.M., outsprinted 2006 half marathon winner Fasil Bizuneh, 28, from Flagstaff, Ariz., over the final 100 meters.

Bizuneh unofficial finish time was 1:04.59. Olaru Nuta, 38, of Romania, won the women’s half marathon in an unofficial time of 1:11.38. Olaru, who now lives and trains in Boulder, Colo., won the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon on Nov. 15 in 2:28.54. Runners at the start of Sunday’s race were greeted with low, grey overcast skies, a wind advisory carrying gusts up to 40 mph and 66 degree temperatures.

The temperature was 19 degrees warmer than it was at the start of the 2007 race. A gust of win nearly blew over the set where WFAA-TV (Ch. 8) commentators interviewed the winners of the half marathon.

The record field — expected to exceed 16,000 runners for the marathon, half-marathon and marathon relays — needed more than 11 minutes to reach the starting line.

Confusion marked the initial split of the marathon and half marathon courses. The days’ early leader on the marathon course was wearing a half-marathon bib. Marathon and half marathon participants stayed together for almost the first seven miles of the course before the half marathon field veered off to its new route.

The race started at 8:03 a.m., three minutes behind schedule. Traffic on I-35 was sluggish 30 minutes before the race. Some runners hopped out of their vehicles and headed to the start line before their vehicles were parked.

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