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Defending Champions, ‘Meb’ Among Elite Field for Falmouth

Olympic silver medalist, defending champs among elite competing in CIGNA Falmouth Road Race

FALMOUTH, Mass. — Defending champions Tadese Tola of Ethiopia and
Edith Masai of Kenya will join a strong field of world-class athletes
in the 37th CIGNA Falmouth Road Race on Aug. 9. Tola will be challenged
by two-time Falmouth runner-up and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, Meb
Keflezighi
, as well as several other elite runners from around the
world as they race along Martha’s Vineyard Sound from Woods Hole to
Falmouth Heights.

“Tola defeated a very strong men’s field last year to become Falmouth’s
first Ethiopian winner, while 41-year-old Masai put on a memorable show
to defeat a strong group of much younger women,” said John Carroll, the
race’s co-director and elite athlete coordinator. “This year we have
another excellent field featuring some very talented athletes who would
like to win Falmouth.”

Tola has had several impressive victories over the past year, including
the 2008 New York City Half-Marathon and the Healthy Kidney 10k in
Central Park, N.Y., with a course record 27:48.
          
Keflezighi, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., shadowed Tola for six miles
before finishing in second place. It was the second straight year that
Keflezighi was runner-up in Falmouth, and the best finish, along with
his 2007 effort, by an American man since Ed Eyestone was second in
1990.

In winning the silver medal for the United States in the marathon at
the 2004 Athens Olympics, he became the first American man to medal in
the event since Frank Shorter took the silver in 1976. Keflezighi is
also the U.S. record holder for 10,000 meters at 27:13.98 and has won
numerous U.S. championships.”I had a great time in Falmouth last
summer. Everyone treated me so well and I’m excited to come back,” said
Keflezighi. “I’m running pretty well and looking forward to racing.”

Also in the men’s elite field will be Edward Muge of Kenya, who led for
more than six miles in the 2008 race until he was forced to stop due to
heat exhaustion. His countryman, Boaz Cheboiywo, third last year, is
also entered and has said he is coming here to win.

Other men’s contenders include U.S. Olympian Jorge Torres of Boulder,
Colo., and last year’s second American and sixth overall, James Carney
of Longmont, Colo. Moroccan Riduane Harroufi, two-time Bolder-Boulder
10k champion and winner of the recent Boilermaker 15k in Utica, N.Y.,
is also expected to run well, along with former Falmouth champions
Gilbert Okari and James Koskei; Samuel Ndereba of Kenya, who was fourth
last year; and world-class marathoners Felix and Richard Limo, running
their first Falmouth. Both men have run under 2:07 for the 26.2-mile
distance.

On the woman’s side, the ageless Masai will face her stiffest challenge
from women half her age. Mamita Daska of Ethiopia, fourth last year,
will give a strong run against the defending champ. Kenyan Edna
Kiplagat,
who was second in the recent Crazy 8s, Kingsport, Tenn., is
also expecting to run well.

Other top challengers will include U.S. Olympians Kate O’Neill, Palo
Alto, Calif., 11th in 2008, two-time Falmouth winner and four-time
Olympian Colleen De Reuck from Boulder, Colo.; and two-time Olympian
Elva Dryer of Gunnison. Colo. Two other strong U.S. women are Renee
Metivier Baillie
, Flagstaff, Ariz., fifth last year, who recently ran a
personal best 5,000 meters in Liege, Belgium; and Rebecca Donaghue,
State College, Penn., 10th in 2008, who also set a personal best at the
same 5,000 in Liege.

The seven mile course begins in the quaint village of Woods Hole, rolls
past the spectacular Nobska Lighthouse, and continues along Martha’s
Vineyard Sound to finish at the ball field in Falmouth Heights.

Winner of the men’s and women’s races receive $10,000. The first U.S.
man and woman will also receive $5,000. In all, over $90,000 in prize
money will be awarded. The top 10 U.S. citizens will win $29,600 for
their efforts. A $1,000 bonus also is available for any runner who
breaks an open course record.

The race was founded in 1973 by Tommy Leonard after watching Frank
Shorter win the Olympic Marathon. Leonard was honored as Citizen of the
Year by the towns of Holyoke and Falmouth this spring. He also received
the Boston Athletic Association’s Patriot Award at ceremonies during
the week before the Boston Marathon.

Olympic gold and silver medalist Frank Shorter will be in Falmouth to
run, along with gold medalist Joan Samuelson and Olympian Bill Rodgers.

This will be CIGNA’s fourth year as the title sponsor. The
Philadelphia-based employee benefits company has extended its
commitment to the race through 2010.

About the CIGNA Falmouth Road Race


The Falmouth Road Race was founded in 1973 and has been named the “Best
USA Road Race” by Runner’s World magazine. It has also been featured in
Life Magazine and Sports Illustrated, as well as on CBS television and
ESPN. In 2005, it was named in Sports Illustrated “One of the 25
essential things to do in the summer.” It was the only road race
listed. Proceeds from the race benefit Falmouth school programs and
youth organizations. The race annually receives more than 25,000
requests for entry forms and fills its field of 10,000 in less than a
week. For more information visit www.FalmouthRoadRace.com.

About CIGNA
CIGNA (NYSE:CI), a global health service company, is dedicated to
helping people improve their health, well-being and security. CIGNA
Corporation’s operating subsidiaries provide an integrated suite of
medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits,
as well as group life, accident and disability insurance, to more than
46 million people throughout the United States and around the world. To
learn more about CIGNA, visit www.CIGNA.com. To sign up for email
alerts or an RSS feed of company news log on to
http://newsroom.cigna.com/section_display.cfm?section_id=18.


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