Women’s Field Takes Shape; Orlova to Defend Title, Americans Look to Challenge

September 6, 2011

MOLINE, IL - The Quad Cities Marathon, presented by THE National Bank, has an elite women's field that could be the deepest in race history. Four countries will be represented in the elite women's race that is set for a 7:30-am start, Sept. 25, at John Deere Commons. The field remains open and is subject to change.
Elena Orlova (Russia) will return to defend her title from a year ago. Orlova posted a 2:42:31 to capture the overall and masters crowns at the 2010 QCM. She posted nearly a three-minute margin of victory and set the QCM masters record during her tour of the Quad Cities. Orlova also won the overall title at the 2010 Bermuda Marathon (2:47:26). Her personal best is a 2:40:01 from a second-place finish at the 2009 California International Marathon. Ludmila Stepanova (Russia) also looks to contend for the 2011 title. She ran 2:43:14 to win this year's Snickers Energy Bar Marathon and ran a personal best of 2:42:33 to win last year's Akron Marathon.
Caroline LeFrak (New York, NY) leads a strong contingent of Americans in this year's field. LeFrak was sixth at the 2010 Donna/Jacksonville Marathon in 2:44:33 to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. She has run well lately, winning last month's NYRR Team 5-Mile Championships in 27:00. LeFrak had a solid collegiate career at Columbia University. LeFrak was a five-time NCAA D-I All-American and three-time NCAA runner-up (5k indoor, 10k outdoor, and cross country).
Rael Murey (Kenya) returns the QCM in 2011. Murey placed third at the 2010 QCM (2:56:54) and was sixth in 2008 (3:01:36). Murey lowered her marathon best to 2:46:05 this year when she placed second at the Shamrock Sportsfest Marathon. Emily Belli (San Diego, CA) is another top American in the field. She placed second at this year's Carlsbad Marathon in 2:46:18. Belli also won two marathons in 2010: Malibu (2:52:34) and Camarillo (2:53:03).
Kaci Lickteig (Omaha, NE) and Muliye Gurmu (Ethiopia) also have seed times under 2:50. Lickteig, a former Creighton University standout, ran 2:49:20 to place 48th at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Gurmu has a 2:49:24 personal best from a third-place showing at the 2009 Philadelphia Marathon. Gurmu ran 2:49:37 at last year's New York City Marathon (39th) and won the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon (2:49:48).
Heidy Lozano (Houston, TX) is a top masters runner in the field. Lozano recent best is a 2:52:48 from her second-place masters finish at the 2010 California International Marathon. Kristina Pham (Phoenix, AZ) should also be a factor; she placed eighth at last year's Eugene Marathon in 2:53:40.
Lisa Dyer (Morehead, MN) and Blossom Marimpietri (Downers Grove, IL) also are slated for the elite field. Dyer, a former University of Minnesota NCAA All-Region selection, has a marathon best of 2:56:30 from the 2010 California International Marathon (19th). Marimpietri, a former Santa Clara University runner, will be making her marathon debut at the QCM. Marimpietri ran a solid 1:25:32 at this year's Chicago Rock-n-Roll Half to place 17th.
The field will look to challenge the 2004 course record of 2:36:26 set by Halina Karnatsevich (Belarus). Americans will be looking to best the 2:46:00 US Olympic Marathon Trials standard. The trials are set for Jan. 14, 2012, in Houston, TX.
The 2011 QCM Half Marathon's elite field will be chasing prize money for the first time in race history.
Julia Stamps Mallon (Santa Rosa, CA) is the top seed in the half field. Mallon won last month's overall title at the Santa Rosa Marathon in 2:44:17, qualifying for her second US Olympic Marathon Trials (2012 and 2004). Mallon was a six-time NCAA D-I All-American at Stanford University, which included a fourth-place NCAA cross country finish. She had a storied junior career: winning a national high school cross country title, four USATF Junior 3000-meter titles, and a Junior Pan Am Games title in the 3000-meter. Her half marathon PR sits at 1:19:20.
Local standout Jen Paul (LeClaire, IA) is a top elite in the field. Paul is having a solid 2011 season, including a 14th-place finish at the QC Times Bix 7 Mile (41:52). Holly Fearing (Maidson, WI) rounds out the top elites in the half. Fearing placed seventh in the 2010 QCM (3:09:58) and holds a half marathon best at 1:24:07.
The half marathon course record was set last year by Krista Vrombaut (Rock Island, IL) in 1:23:31. Americans may also book a spot in the 2012 US Olympic Marathpon Trials by running a half marathon in 1:15:00 or better.
Complete Elite Bios for Women's Marathon and Half Marathon Field: click here