Two-time Olympic Medalist Highlights Carlsbad 5000 Field

Invitational Field Announced for 25th running of the ‘World’s Fastest 5K’

CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 9, 2010) – Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, one of the world’s most decorated 5000-meter runners, will headline the elite international field at the 25th annual Carlsbad 5000, presented by Nuvasive.  Winner of both a bronze (2004) and silver (2008) Olympic medal, Kipchoge will chase after what is, arguably, the most impressive record in all of road racing, Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 road 5K mark set in Carlsbad in 2000 and tied the following year.

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Kipchoge is perhaps best known for his win in the 5000 meters at the 2003 World Championships in Paris. Credit: Photorun.net

“Nobody has come close to Sammy’s mark since 2001,” recalls running historian Toni Reavis, 20-year broadcaster of the race.  “That record has taken on a Beamon-esque stature in the ensuing years, especially Sammy’s first miles in under 4:00!”

Since its inception in 1986, no other road race in the world has set as many world records as the Carlsbad 5000. To date 16 world records have fallen at the T-shaped seaside course, and the race renowned for fast runners once again welcomes a stellar field on Sunday, April 11.

“Matt Turnbull has done an outstanding job of recruiting a top-notch field to celebrate the silver anniversary of Carlsbad,” says Reavis.  “His predecessor, Mike Long, helped generate many of the world records at Carlsbad based on his friendship with the world’s top runners.  Mike would be proud of Matt’s personal touch this year, as well.”

Three men in the field – Kipchoge, defending champion Bekana Daba and Ali Abdosh, both of Ethiopia – have broken 13:00 on the track over 5000 meters, the gold standard on the oval.  Their presence ensures that nothing less than a new world best is the target for the men’s race.  After winning in 13:19 last year, 21 year-old Bekana Daba of Ethiopia returns to defend his title and possibly run even faster. Since his victory at the Carlsbad 5000 last April, Daba has set a 5000 meter PR of 12:59.22, and added December’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon to his resume, winning in 1:01:40 in his debut at the distance. 

Though he has proven speed and experience on the Carlsbad layout, Daba will have to contend with Kipchoge, who holds a track PR of 12:46:53, some 13 seconds faster than the PR’s of the next two fastest men in the race.  While he has won two Olympic medals, Kipchoge is perhaps best known for his win in the 5000 meters at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.  There, in one of the greatest 5000’s in world history, 18 year-old Kipchoge surprised 1500-meter world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, and fellow Kenyan Kenenisa Bekele, the 5000 meter world record holder, to claim gold by 4/100ths of a second over the Moroccan.   Kipchoge has also run a 10k road time of 26:54 on a downhill circuit, eight seconds faster than fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo’s current world 10Km World record of 27:01.

Ethiopians Abdosh (12:59.56), Markos Geneti (13:00.25), and Dejen Gebremeskel (13:03.13) are each dangerous runners, and will also present a huge challenge in what promises to be one of the deepest fields in 5K road history.

“Eliud has been on my radar for the last couple of years to bring to the Carlsbad 5000,” said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete Coordinator. “He’s a class act and one of the most consistent performers in the World and we’re delighted to have him competing at the 25th anniversary of the event. He faces some tough opposition in defending champion Bekana Daba of Ethiopia and fellow countrymen, Ali Abdosh, Markos Geneti and Dejen Gebremeskal all of whom are capable of running around that magical 13 minute mark.”

Sunday’s event will also feature a rematch of the 2007 Carlsbad 5000.  Three years ago, Kenya’s Simon Ndirangu raced to a 13 minutes, 28 second win, beating runner-up Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico by four seconds.

“2007 champion Simon Ndirangu of Kenya also shouldn’t be overlooked,” added Turnbull. “He showed he’s in great form recently winning the Cooper Bridge River Run (Charleston, South Carolina) over a challenging course.”

The non-African challenge will likely be led by former University of Arkansas All-American Alistair Cragg of Ireland.  Now training in Mammoth Lakes, California, Cragg competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing in both the 1500m and 5000m track events.  He made his second Olympic 5000m final.

A sub-four minute miler, UC Berkley graduate Bolota Asmerom comes to Carlsbad with his sights set on Marc Davis’ 13-year-old American road 5K record 13:24. Asmerom, a three-year letter winner in track for Cal, owns a track PR over 5,000m of 13:15. While still in college, his duel citizenship allowed him to represent Eritrea in the 5,000m at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

“I’m really looking forward to this race and I’m going to give it (the US record) a go and see how long I can hold on. It’s more exciting that way,” said Asmerom, who finished second to Meb Keflezighi at October’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Jose.

The Carlsbad 5000 annually attracts amateur, competitive and professional runners from around the world.

The group of world-class athletes will be joined by the best masters runners in the U.S. on the scenic, beachfront streets of Carlsbad for the 25h running of one of the marquee events on the international road race circuit. Part of the 25-year legacy of the Carlsbad 5000 is that the infamous route along the Pacific Ocean has never been altered; and for good reason – 16 world records have been set throughout the event’s history, as well as numerous national and age-group marks.

Beginning at 7:05 am with the men’s masters’ race, thousands of runners take to the oceanfront route, some with eyes on the clock, intent on setting a personal record, others simply celebrate the beginning of spring and look forward to finishing their first race.

The ‘Party by the Sea’ gets started as soon as the first racers cross the finish line. After enjoying the scenic 3.1 mile course, runners can step into the beer garden, sip two free brews and then rock out to a live band.  The atmosphere of the event builds into a crescendo when participants and spectators line the streets for the main event at high-noon, where professional elite athletes from around the world attempt to add to the race’s 16 world best times.

Race weekend kicks off with a pre-registration party on Friday, April 9 for the Junior Carlsbad hosted at the Carlsbad Village Faire.  On Saturday, April 10 more than 3,000 junior racers, age 12 and under, will take part in one of the eleven age group races. All runners receive a t-shirt and finisher’s medal for their efforts. Awards will be presented to the top junior athletes ages five-12.

Registration for both the Junior Carlsbad and Carlsbad 5000 is available race weekend. For more information or to view the full race day schedule, visit www.carlsbad5000.com or call 800-311-1255.

Men’s Elite Field

RACE # NAME AGE COUNTRY CAREER HIGHLIGHT

1, Bekana Daba, 21, Ethiopia, Defending champion. PR of 12:59.22 for 5,000m.

2. Eliud Kipchoge, 25, Kenya, Has silver and bronze medals over 5,000m from the last 2 Olympic Games.

3. Ali Abdosh, 22, Ethiopia, Has run 12:59.56 for 5,000m. Finished 4th in Carlsbad last year.

4. Juan Luis Barrios, 26, Mexico, Finished 7th in the 2008 Olympic 5000m final.

5. Markos Geneti, 25, Ethiopia, Former Silver Medalist at the World Junior Championships for 5000m.

6. Simon Ndirangu, 24, Kenya, 2007 Carlsbad 5000 Champion recently won the Cooper Bridge River Run.

7. Dejen Gebremeskel, 20, Ethiopia, Was a World Junior Bronze medalist over 5,000m in 2008.

8. Alistair Cragg, 29, Ireland, Won individual NCAA titles at 3,000, 5,000m 10,000m at Arkansas.

9. Haron Lagat, 26, Kenya, Finished 3rd here in 2008 and has a 3:53 PR for the mile.

10. Bolota Asmerom, 31, Oakland, CA, Has a track PR over 5,000m of 13:15:16.

11. Gary Thornton, 30, Ireland, 2007 Irish National 10,000m Champion.

12. Joe Gray, 26,Lakewood, WA, ‘09 National Mountain Running Champion. 5-time Pacific Northwest Champion.

13. Jordan Horn, 25, Flagstaff, AZ, He recently has set new PR’s for the mile 3:58 and 3,000m indoors 7:52.

14. Jeff Randell, 23, Iowa City, IA, Won the CASI St. Patrick’s Day 5k in Davenport, IA.

Women’s Elite Field

RACE # NAME AGE COUNTRY CAREER HIGHLIGHT

F1. Aheza Kiros, 27, Ethiopia, Defending Champion. Her track PR is 14:56.33 set in Carson, CA last year.

F2. Meseret Defar, 26, Ethiopia, Set 5K Road Race World record in 2006. Olympic 5000m Champion.

F3. Meskerem Assefa, 24, Ethiopia, Recently finished 3rd in Cooper River Bridge Run at the end of March.

F4. Adriana Pirtea, 30, Romania , Chicago Marathon runner-up in 2007.

F5. Malindi Elmore, 30, Canada, Has represented Canada at Olympic Games over 1,500m.

F6. Diane Nukuri – Johnson, 25, Burundi, Hold six national records.

F7. Barbara Parker, 27, Great Britain, 2008 Olympian in the steeplechase. This will be her debut 5km road race.

F8. Jolanda Verstraten, 26, Netherlands, Two-time National Champion in the 3000 Steeple.

F9. Kassie Anderson, 27, Salt Lake City, 2003 NCAA champion; 4-time NCAA All-American.

F10. Salome Kosgei, 29, Kenya, Won on her Marathon debut last year in Richmond, VA.

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