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Kona Marathon 2011: Gillette reigns again

Justin Gillette wins his fourth consecutive Kona Marathon. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Justin Gillette wins his fourth consecutive Kona Marathon. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7

Justin Gillette is making the race his own. The 28-year-old Indiana runner scored his fourth straight title Sunday morning in the Kona Marathon.

Gillette’s winning time was 2:34:41, just 12 seconds quicker than his winning time last year.

Hiroyuki Nishimura, of Chiba, Japan, was second, coming in at 2:52:16. Rounding out the top three was Brian Hayes, of Kaneohe, in a time of 2:58:37.

On the women’s side, Valeria Sesto won her maiden crown in a race that takes runners from Keauhou Beach Resort along Alii Drive, through Kailua Village, then out to NELHA and back again.

Sesto, 38, from Lymington, England, finished in 3:05:44, earning her sixth place overall.

Second for the women was 2010 winner and wife of the men’s champion, Melissa Gillette in a time of 3:09:27.

Right behind was her brother-in-law and Justin’s brother, Jake, at 3:11:04. And keeping it all in the family, Jake’s wife, Laura, rounded out the top three women at 3:13:15.

Big Island bragging rights went to Hilo’s Matthias Wulf, 3:09:11, and Kailua-Kona’s Tanya Gusarchuk, 3:50:15.

Marathon Results

Half-Marathon (results)

It was a clean sweep for the Big Island with Jason Braswell and Bree Wee. Braswell came in at 1:17:53 and Wee was second overall at 1:20:53.

10K (results)

Another sweep for Kailua-Kona as the husband-and-wife team of Penn Henderson and Rani Tanimoto claimed the 10K titles.

Henderson finished in 36:17 and Tanimoto earned third place overall with her time of 40:10.

In between the couple was teenager Taylor Steele of Bend, Ore. Steele, racing in the 1-19 age division, just pipped Tanimoto with a time of 39:04.

5K (results)

Cody Bergfalk, of Kailua-Kona, cruised to the win in 18:26, while the women’s winner was 14-year-old Kristiana Van Pernis, of Kailua-Kona at 22:23.

Van Pernis, a standout cross country runner for Hawaii Preparatory Academy, set a new record in the 12-14 girls division. Previously, the record stood at 22:36, set by Cassie Bird in 2007.

A total of 1,800 runners signed up for the UCC Coffee Kunitake Farms Kona Marathon, Half Marathon and Family Fun Runs.

The course record is 2:23:31, set by Eddy Hellebuyck in 2001. Hellebuyck was the last man to claim four titles in a row, 2000-2003.

The women’s record is 2:57:15, set by Eri Okubo in 2008.

For the half-marathon, Jonathan Lyau set the record of 1:12:14 in 1998. For the women, Darlene Mota recorded a 1:16:57 in 1995.

— For complete results, see:

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