San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tamarindo Beach Marathon grows to 900 runners

TAMARINDO – In its third year running, the Tamarindo Beach Marathon drew a field of nearly 900 participants to this northern Pacific coastal community on Saturday, including some of Costa Rica´s top runners.

Beginning on a dirt road just south of the town´s main drag, the race followed main roads north as far as Brasilito. Though spectators were sparse, runners pounded along to the music of howler monkeys and enjoyed a splendid sunrise over empty fields.

A combination of a 10k, 21k, 20k and full marathon (42k) races opened the field to runners of all types and abilities.

Bernard Kimwetich Sangoka of Nairobi, Kenya, placed first in the full marathon with a time of 2:37:16. Close on his heels was Costa Rican Adrian Canossa, who finished at 2:38:05.

The women´s full marathon was won by Costa Rican Sonia Rojas (3:32:29) of San José, followed by fellow Costa Rican Jackeline Chaves (3:37:07), of La Aurora, Heredia (northwest of San José ).

The top male and female winners of the half marathon were Francisco Cháves of San José (1:10:14) and Gabriela Traña of Alajuela (1:22:35). In the 30k race, Carlos Zamora of Alajuela pulled in first place (1:59:43) and Josefina Sancho (2:29:29) of San José won it for the women. In the 10k, Roger Coto of Cartago won it for the men and Eva Gordon of Guatemala won the women´s race (43:11).

The Tamarindo Beach Marathon, which is still in its infancy, began in 2007 when a group of Costa Rican athletes decided to expose some of Costa Rica´s treasured landscapes to the international athletic arena.

“The main idea and purpose behind the marathon (was to) establish an internationally certified race that would attract both national and international athletes to visit and enjoy one of the most beautiful sceneries of Costa Rica´s natural paradise,” the founders wrote on their Web site. “Furthermore, the race would serve as an opportunity for rural communities to participate in a local athletic event and engage in a health and active lifestyle.”

Since last year, the field has nearly doubled in size, drawing runners from the United States, Argentina, France, Germany and Mexico.

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