A year ago, the Larisa Mikhaylova Running Club brought Tatyana Mironova to Murray for the city's inaugural half marathon.Mironova blistered the course, taking the first-place honors in the event.Mironova isn't returning for an encore this weekend in the second Murray Half Marathon, but the Mikhaylova Running Club is still one to watch, as Mikhaylova says she's bringing two elite runners to Saturday's event.
«We enjoyed the race very much,» Mikhaylova said. «Last year was successful for my runners and the people working the race were kind and everything was fine.
«We decided to come again and I have good runners for this race and they are in good shape.»
Among those elite runners are Lilian Mariita and Tatyana Byelovol.Mariita, a 23-year-old from Kenya, enters Saturday's race on a bit of a hot streak.
In January, Mariita won a half marathon in Miami with a time of 1:16.05, then in March, Mariita set a new personal best for the 13.1 mile half marathon course, completing an event in Pennsylvania in 1:13.13. Mariita's previous time was 1:14:30, which she set in Philadelphia in 2011 «Lilian is running very good right now,» Mikhaylova said. «I hope she
can run better at this race, and that depends on weather and things like that.»
Joining Mariita as another possible winner is Byelovol, who at 42-years-old, is running as well as she ever has.Byelovol, a native of the Ukraine, ran her personal best half marathon time of 1:12.02 in 1996, but in February of 2011, Byelovol won a full marathon in Jacksonville, Fla. with a time of 2:43.55. Susan Davis, coordinator of the Murray Half Marathon, said in a press release that several other elite runners are also registered for Saturday's event, and added that was an additional goal when the idea of a half marathon in Murray first started. «When we first envisioned the Murray Half Marathon, we wanted it to attract not only the casual runner, but also the elites,» Davis said.«We wanted to offer people the opportunity to run among some of the best runners in the world, while at the same time providing a small-town atmosphere and friendly race.«We are so happy to have elite runners not only participate, but give us praise for the course, the race staff and the overall experience.»The second Murray Half Marathon is set to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, and will begin at the Center for Health and Wellness at 716 Poplar Street