Top Kenyans, Ethiopians To Contest Freihofer’s Run For Women

Erkesso, Chebet, Daska, Gobena and Tune among the notables at 32nd edition in Albany on June 5

ALBANY, N.Y. – (May 18, 2010) – If there’s one thing the Freihofer’s Run for Women guarantees every year, it’s that you can expect an incredible showing from the African field.

African women have, in fact, placed first or second in four of the five years since the race went to an international format in 2005. In addition, Moroccan Asmae Leghzaoui lays claim to the course record (15:18, 2005), and the current defending champion is Ethiopian Teyba Erkesso, the 2010 Boston Marathon champion.

Now, the 32nd edition of the Freihofer’s Run – set for Saturday, June 5 – announces perhaps the deepest African field ever, stacked with notables from powerhouses Kenya and Ethiopia.

* Emily Chebet, 24, of Kenya, is fresh off her stunning win at the World Cross Country Championships last month. Her win surprised many as she came from back in the pack to beat two of the most formidable runners in the world, Linet Masai and Meselech Melkamu. Chebet, the runner-up at last weekend’s ING Bay to Breakers 12K, will surely have her sights set on Teyba Erkesso.

* Ethiopian Dire Tune, 24, is another formidable competitor. In 2008, the Olympian won the Chevron Houston Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the RAK Half Marathon, and competed in the Beijing Olympic Marathon, placing 15th. Last year, Tune placed 2nd at the Boston Marathon and recently finished 3rd at the Zayed International Half Marathon. Tune just barely missed the podium at the 2007 Freihofer’s Run for Women, coming in 4th.

* Mamitu Daska, 26, of Ethiopia, placed 3rd at the 2010 ING Bay to Breakers 12K, 2nd at the 2010 Lilac Bloomsday 12K and 8th at the 2010 World Cross Country Championships. She was also the runner-up at the 2009 Freihofer’s Run for Women, finishing just behind Erkesso. Last year, she hit the tape first at both the Bolder Boulder 10K and the Falmouth Road Race.

* Amane Gobena, 27, of Ethiopia, is well known at Freihofer’s. She finished just seconds behind Benita Willis at the 2008 Freihofer’s Run for Women and is now back looking for the win. So far this year, Gobena has won the Osaka Marathon and Seoul International Marathon. She also placed 5th at the Zayed Half Marathon in January.

“This is not only a very deep African group, but also one where they are all running very well at the moment,” maintained Elite Athlete Recruiter John Tope.

Rounding out the ultra competitive African field are:

* Nukuri Johnson, 25, of Burundi. Johnson competed in the 5K at the 2000 Olympics Games and is also a two-time All-American. She placed 7th at the 2010 Carlsbad 5000.

* Belainesh Zemedkun, 22, is another Ethiopian who’s gaining more and more recognition with every race she enters. Zemedkun’s victories this year include the Bermuda Half Marathon and the Azalea Trail 10K. She also placed 2nd at the Crescent City 10K and 8th at the World’s Best 10K.

* Jelliah Tingea, 24, of Kenya placed 4th at the 2010 ING Bay to Breakers 12K, 2nd at the 2010 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile and 5th at the 2010 Lilac Bloomsday 12K. Her personal best for the 5K is 15:25, only seven seconds behind Leghzaoui’s course record.

Event Director George Regan sees the African field shaping up as one for the ages.

“It’s a great match up between two of the powerhouses in the world of distance running, Ethiopia and Kenya,” he said. “When you have names like Chebet, Erkesso, Daska, Gobena and Tune in your line-up, you know you’re going to see something incredible happen. The headline for this story should be ‘Speeding Legalized in Albany on June 5th, 2010.’ These athletes are going to burn up Madison Avenue.”

A 30-minute Freihofer’s Run for Women TV special will air Saturday, June 5th at 10:30pm on FOX23. This year’s race will once again include the USA 10K Open and Junior Race Walk Championships featuring many of the nation’s top race walkers.

To register for the Freihofer’s Run for Women, or for more information about the 22nd Freihofer’s Community Walk, 23rd Freihofer’s Kids’ Run and 8th CapitalCare Health & Fitness Expo, visit: freihofersrun.com

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