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Former Sun Devils run strong in marathon events

January 20, 2009

Six former distance runners in the Arizona State University track & field and cross country program recently competed in one of two events on Sunday, including the P.F. Chang's Rock-n-Roll Marathon/Half-Marathon in Phoenix and the U.S. Half-Marathon Championship in Houston.

At the national championship races in Houston, Fasil Bizuneh, the only former Sun Devil male to compete on the weekend, took sixth place overall in the half-marathon race, covering the 13.1 miles in 1:02.40. In the women's race, Desiree Davila was the fourth-place finisher with a time of 1:12.24 while Alvina Begay was 17th in 1:15.39 and Amy Hastings 24th in 1:17.13.

Locally, a pair of women claimed Top 20 finishes in the full marathon, including current graduate assistant coach Jenna Wrieden, who placed ninth in 2:50.45. Cassie Bando (formerly Rios) placed just behind Wrieden, claiming an 11th-place finish in 2:51.58. The women's race featured 2,972 finishers.

Overall in the Valley, 6,411 runners finished the marathon (men and women combined). Including the men's runners, Wrieden placed 57th overall and Bando was 59th.

ASU will open its 2009 indoor season on this Friday with several athletes competing at the Friday Night Challenge at Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.