By Mark Smith /Journal Assistant Sports Editor
October 14, 2016
Long one of the top running events in the region, the 33rd annual Duke City Marathon has added another honor to its very successful history.
“We’ve been rated as one of the top 25 marathons in the world,” said Burt Trembly, a board member with the race.
Indeed, the Duke City – which is scheduled in Downtown Albuquerque on Sunday – is ranked as the 22nd-best marathon in the world by Theactivetimes.com. It beat out the likes of San Diego and Portland, Ore.
“It really is an honor,” Trembly said. “Out here, we’ve known for a long time how special this event is. The rating is based on a number of things and is voted on by runners who participate in marathons around the world.”
Three-time champion Solomon Kandie (2012, 2013, 2015) is the favorite – and nearly could have been considered one of the favorites.
“I had planned to race the relay marathon with my siblings this season,” he said. “Unfortunately, one of my little brothers is working on getting his U.S. visa, and the other is deployed on U.S. Army duty.
“But I’m certain that all five (siblings) will be around for the Big 5 Marathon in 2017, and we’ll shake off a course record.”
A contestant can run both the marathon – there are 600 in the field this year – and be on a relay team.
Kandie, 38, is a world-class distance runner from Kenya. He now lives in Albuquerque and recently got some great nonracing news – he officially became a permanent U.S. resident after 12 years of immigration work.
Kandie a professional runner, works with sales and marketing with Mattress Firm.
“I love the Big 5 Duke City Marathon because of the support and the inspiration it gives to the New Mexico Community,” Kandie said. “It is our No. 1 giant marathon, and I want to see it grow and be on the same caliber with some of the U.S. majors. I intend to continue marketing it both now and the future.”
His other goal this year?
“To win,” he says with his thick accent and a chuckle. “There are many, many good runners, many elite runners. I expect it to be competitive, but I expect to win.”
- About 5,000 are expected to participate in the seven events. The 26.2-mile marathon and marathon relay, consisting of five-member teams, begin at 7 a.m.
Other races begin every 15 minutes.
Trembly said that the starting point has been changed this year to Third and Marquette.
“It’s a little different because of all the ART stuff on Central. We needed to change the course a little,” he said. “But it will still be an incredibly scenic course.”
As of Thursday, there were entries from 45 states, including New Mexico, and seven countries: United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Germany, South Africa and the United States.
- The biggest field is the half marathon, with about 1,500 runners.
Sandia Golf Club assistant golf pro Nick Knee is one of those, but he said not one in contention for the win.
“No chance,” Knee said. “I’m using it as training for the Disney races. I’ll be flying under the radar in this one.”
In January, Knee plans to compete in the Dopey Challenge in Orlando, Fla., which includes running a marathon, a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k on four consecutive days.
- Titanium Fitness announced it has the most participants from one team in the race’s history. Duke City executive director and founder Tico Navarro said: “The team consists of men, women (and) children, with more than 100 runners and walkers. We are proud that such an elite organization chooses our race each year.”
Trembly said Titanium Fitness uses the event as one of its measurable fitness goals.
“They have training programs all summer to get ready for races,” Trembly said. “They started with 40 (in the Duke City) in 2014, then had about 80 last year. As of Thursday, they have 114 signed up this year. That’s by far the largest group we’ve ever had, and it’s growing every year.”
- There are more than $5,000 in prize cards being awarded to the winners. The cards are all from race sponsor Big 5 Sporting Goods.
In addition, the race is the state’s only Boston Marathon qualifier, and Trembly said the Duke City will pay the Boston Marathon entry fee for anyone who qualifies in Sunday’s race.
- The race is also a benefit for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico. It has raised nearly $50,000 for the organization since teaming up three years ago.
“This is our fourth year as beneficiary, and it has been a great experience for our kids and organization,” said Tim Sheahan, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Central NM. “We have 31 kids running this year. We have many, many volunteers. The money has helped our program battle childhood obesity, among other things. We are just so appreciative of the Duke City and Big 5 for sponsoring.”
Duke City Marathon
Saturday Registration, Isleta Hotel & Casino, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (part of health and fitness expo) or visit dukecitymarathon.com
Sunday • Marathon, 7 a.m. • Marathon relay, 7 a.m. • Half marathon, 7:15 a.m. • 5K run, 7:30 a.m. • 10K walk, 7:45 a.m. • 5K walk, 8 a.m. • 10K run, 8:15 a.m.