Kosgei Claims Third Steamboat Classic Crown

Edna Kiplagat wins women’s race as 37th edition of summer classic boasts more than 3,000 finishers.

Written by: Gary Childs

PEORIA, Ill. — Three for three. That’s the story of the 37th running of the Steamboat Classic.

Wearing bib #3, Shadrack Kosgei became only the second individual to win the men’s 4-mile road race three times.

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The 25-year-old Kenyan crossed the finish line Saturday morning in 17 minutes, 36 seconds — four seconds ahead of countryman Peter Kamais. Defending men’s race champion Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco was third in 18:03 and Antonio Vega of Team USA Minnesota was the top American in 8th place (18:18).

“I really like the race,” Kosgei said.

Kosgei started his collection of Steamboat titles as a teenager in 2003 and added to it in 2005. He was one of three runners in the field who had the opportunity to match Khalid Khannouchi’s Steamboat record for most men’s titles (1997, ’98 and ’99), and Kosgei did the most with it.

“I was pretty confident,” said Kosgei, who broke away from Kamais as they raced downhill on Hamilton Boulevard about 400 meters from the finish on Water Street.

Kosgei’s winning time equaled the seventh fastest time in Steamboat history. His 17:33 in 2003 ranks third behind Khannouchi’s 17:30 in 1998 and course and world-record holder Josphat Machuka’s 17:24 in 1995.

“He knew the course,” said Kamais, 33, who was making his Steamboat debut. Kamais won the NYC Half Marathon last March.

“The four mile and half marathon are so different,” Kamais said.

Women’s race winner Edna Kiplagat clocked a 19:56 in her Steamboat debut to equal the sixth fastest time in race history.

“The last two miles was not easy,” said the 30-year-old from Kenya, who finished 21 seconds ahead of countrywoman Jelliah Tinega.

“I tried to push hard,” said Kiplagat, the 2010 Honda LA Marathon champion. “I was feeling a little bit dizzy.”

The 37th Steamboat had 3,056 finishers compared to 2,824 in 2009. Another 802 participants finished the accompanying 15K race, 76 more than the previous year.

Spectators included Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, of Chicago, who saw his son, Patrick, 27, also of Chicago, finish 18th in the men’s 4 mile in 20:21.

“The Steamboat Classic is known throughout Illinois, throughout our country, throughout the whole world,” the elder Quinn said. “It is so inspiring to see so many people participating.”

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