2007 Grandma's Marathon Champions Mary Akor of the United States and Wesly Ngetich of Kenya will attempt to complete the "Andrew Musuva Double" on October 7th.
As only Musuva has so far done successfully -- winning both of Minnesota's elite marathons in 1999 -- the two will attempt to win the Twin Cities Marathon in the same year they won at Grandma's.
This year's Grandma's champs headline the elite field for the 26th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon announced today. The event will again have an international flavor after two years as the USA Marathon Championships. TCM will host the USA Master championship for the 17th straight year, however.
Should Akor succeed in the Twin Ports/Twin Cities double, she'd be the first women to turn the same-year double, although three-time TCM champion Zinaida Semenova won TCM in 2001 and Grandma's in 2002 -- winning the events consecutively albeit in different years.
(Jan Ettle, Janis Klecker, and Irina Bogacheva have won both races non-consecutively.)
Akor, who was the runner up at Twin Cities last year to Marla Runyan, will face strong competition in her quest. Three runners with faster PRs than her 2:33:27 at TCM last year will join her on the starting line. Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia is the fastest female entrant at 2:29:00. Tatiana Borisova of Kyrgyzstan has run 2:30:39; Magdelena Lewy-Boulet of the USA has run 2:30:50.
Ngetich faces stiff competition too, including 2004 TCM champ Augustus Kavutu of Kenya who sports a 2:11:39 marathon best. Thomas Omwenga (2:10:44), Jonathon Ndambuki (2:10:58), and Fred Mogaka (2:12:03), all of Kenya, are obvious contenders. Russian Mykola Antonenko (2:13:00), who finished runner-up to Kavutu at TCM in 2004, and Ethiopian Abebe Yimer (2:13:52) are the best bets to break up the Kenyan pack.
Other notable elite entrants in the race include 1999 TCM women's champ Kim Pawelek, three-time TCM champ Semenova, now a 44-year-old master, and 2002 champ Bogecheva, now 46.
Two-time defending USA Masters Marathon champ Susan Loken is back to add a third USA title to her string. 2004 USA Masters men's champ Dennis Simoniatis also returns.
A complete listing of TCM elite athletes and the official media release can be found HERE.