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Negative Split Strategy Key to Winning 7th Annual 26.2 with DONNA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 10,000 registered runners and walkers, including more than 40 national and world class runners, participated in the 7th Annual 26.2 with DONNA marathon weekend events held February 22-23, 2014 on Florida's First Coast. In contrast to last year's record cold, the race saw mild, humid conditions throughout most of Sunday until severe weather forced the race to close an hour earlier than expected.

Elite runners in front at the Start of the 7th Annual 26.2 with DONNA

Several of the fastest marathon times ever recorded in Florida were again clocked at this year's race. Ethiopian runners, Eyob Wlodegeiorgis (2:19:43) and Meseret Basa (2:41:25), were the Men's and Women's winners, respectively. In the Men's division, only the winning time at the 2014 Miami Marathon (2:19:46) could crack the top five men's finishing times. The women's finishers were even more impressive with the top six women running faster than 2014 Miami Marathon's second place finisher (3:00:32), and three running faster than 2014 Miami Marathon and inaugural 26.2 with DONNA champion Mariska Kramer(2:49:28).

While the humidity provided a significant deterrent to a fast early pace for the elite runners, the last half of the race was a barn-burner. Using a negative split strategy, in which he ran the second half of the race faster than the first, Men's winner Eyob Wlodegeiorgis' time for the final 13.1 miles was 1:05:55! He ran 7:43 faster in the second half. To put that pace into perspective, his time for the last half alone would have won about 85 percent of all the Half Marathons run in the U.S. last year, finished 7th overall at the Gasparilla Half Marathon, and would have won the 2014 Miami Half Marathon. 

"It's important to note that negative splits like those seen in the 26.2 with DONNA marathon this past weekend often reflect the experience and quality of the athletes. It takes discipline and practice to achieve a negative split. Major marathons held in Boston, New York City, and at the Olympics often, if not always, finish with negative splits," said Keith Brantly, Olympian and 26.2 with DONNA Elite Runner Liaison.

One of the most competitive marathons held in February, 26.2 with DONNA not only offers runners good competition and a fast course, but a $64,150 prize purse and a unique route that includes a two-mile stretch along the beaches of Jacksonville.

"So many people are drawn to our race because of the cause. Even many of the elites express a special fondness for what we are trying to accomplish. Everyone is touched by breast cancer in some way, and when you know that there is purpose in every step you take, the run is more meaningful. The fact that our entire community throws it's arms wide open to these runners adds an atmosphere that is hard to top," said Donna Deegan, founder of 26.2 with DONNA and three-time breast cancer survivor. 

The 8th Annual 26.2 with DONNA Marathon Weekend is scheduled for February 14-15, 2015, and includes a 5K, Relay, Half, Full, Virtual, and Ultra Marathon.

About 26.2 with DONNA
The 26.2 with DONNA mission is to passionately produce world-class events to raise funds for groundbreaking breast cancer research and empower those living with breast cancer. Seventy percent of all race proceeds go to the Mayo Clinic for bench top cancer research. Thirty percent of all race proceeds go to The Donna Foundation to help breast cancer patients with critical financial needs. Visit

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SOURCE 26.2 with DONNA

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