CORRECTION - Alyanak leads Team USA at IAAF Marathon Cup


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field


OSAKA, Japan -- 2001 Big Ten Conference cross country champion Ann Alyanak led Team USA to a sixth-place finish in the women's marathon team competition Sunday morning at the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.

A resident of Bellbrook, Ohio, Alyanak placed 31st in the race, completing the course in 2 hours 42 minutes23 seconds. Other American finishers included 11-time NCAA Division II All-American Zoila Gomez (Alamosa, Colo.), who placed 35th in 2:44:49 and 2008 Olympic Trials qualifier Dana Coons of Vienna, Va., 38th in 2:46:12. 2005 Big Sur International Marathon champion Mary Akor (Gardena, Calif.) finished 42nd in 2:47:06, and Samia Akbar of Herndon, Va., an NCAA All-American while at American University, was 49th in 2:56:27.

Catherine Ndereba of Kenyawon the individual competition in 2:30:37. Kenya won the team competition, with China finishing as the runners-up and Japan finished third.

Team USA Quotes:

Mary Akor (Gardena, Calif.): It went fine. I'm not disappointed. I got a little bit sick, but that's okay, things happen. The weather was great. It wasn't hot. It didn't go well for me, but I'm happy. The girls did fine.

Zoila Gomez (Alamosa, Col.): It's been a wonderful experience. By far it's been one of the best experiences of my life. The race went well--I did what my coach asked me to do, and be patient and not get caught up with the early pace. As the race went on it kept getting hotter and hotter. Towards the end I forgot about pace, and I tried to motivate myself to get the next person. It's an honor to represent the USA-it's a dream come true.

Ann Alyanak (Bellbrook, Ohio): It went well. I think I ended up negative splitting, which was the plan going in. I never really felt hot until the last 7k. We had a cloud cover in the beginning, which made it feel comfortable. This was an awesome experience being able to run in this international field.

Samia Akbar (Herndon, VA): Overall, I was happy with the first half. I was proud of my teammates for working together, and we had come up with a strategy before the race to go out conservatively. For most of us, it worked out really well. Personally, I was dissatisfied with my finish, because of the way I felt halfway through the race. I felt something weird happening with my shoe, and that pretty much persisted for the rest of the race. I've only run one marathon prior to this, and that was in New York. In contrast, New York was a great day, and this was at the other extreme. I'm happy I came, but I wished I could have contributed more to the team.

Dana Coons (Vienna, VA): Things went as planned. We went out conservative for the first half. We had some guys who ran the marathon earlier figure out the difference between PR and race time was going to be about fifteen minutes, so I was thinking 2:50 wouldn't' be bad. I was called to be on the team six weeks ago, and that was another reason to be conservative. I'm happy I could be here.

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