New York Mini 10K Loaded With World Champions

Seven past and reigning world champions will run in Saturday’s race.

By David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (03-Jun) — Seven world champions will lead the field for the NYRR New York Mini 10-K on Saturday, June 12, the New York Road Runners announced here today.  The world’s original all-women’s road race, which was founded in 1972 and has played host to some of the sport’s all-time greats, will be contested for the 39th time on a rolling course in Central Park.  This year’s winner will truly be a champion of champions.

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Leading the field is Kenya’s Linet Masai, the reigning world 10,000m champion who will be making her USA road racing debut.  Masai, 20, who possesses one of the most elegant strides in the sport, has a sizzling 30:26.50 10,000m personal best and has also run 31:08 on the road.  Masai is in great form, coming off of a personal best 14:31.14 for 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha on May 23.

Emily Chebet, who beat Masai to second place at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships last March, is also in the field.  Since becoming world cross country champion, the 24 year-old Masai made the podium at both the Lilac Bloomsday and Bay to Breakers 12-K races in Spokane and San Francisco, respectively.  She will be racing in New York City for the first time.

Lornah Kiplagat, a four-time world champion in road running and cross country, will be trying to win the “Mini” for the fifth time.  The 36 year-old Dutch woman from Groet has been slowly recovering from a nagging knee injury under the care of physiotherapist Gerard Hartmann.  She’s been anxious to get back to the Mini since last winning the race in 2007.

“I am really thrilled to come back to New York City after not racing there for quite some time,” said Kiplagat in prepared remarks.  “New York is home away from home and I missed the city, the people, and the atmosphere a lot. During the time of my injury I was only talking about when I could be ready for one of the New York Road Runners events, and I can’t wait to come back.”

Ethiopia’s Derartu Tulu and Worknesh Kidane and Australia’s Benita Willis, who also have world titles to their credit, are also in the field.  Tulu, 38, a four-time world champion in cross country and on the track, will be in New York for the first time since winning the ING New York City Marathon last November.  Kidane, 28, the 2003 world cross country champion, is in excellent form, winning the Bupa Great Manchester 10-K on May 16, one day after her husband Gebre Gebremariam won the Healthy Kidney 10-K here.  Willis, 31, was the world cross country champion in 2003.

The seventh world champion is Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, who won the Mini in 2001.  Five months pregnant, she’ll be jogging the race with American Kara Goucher, who is also five months pregnant.

New Zealand’s Kim Smith, Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso and America’s Magdalena Lewy Boulet have yet to win world titles, but they are formidable competitors.  Smith, 28, holds the New Zealand record for 10,000m on the track (30:35.54), and is a terrific road runner with a 31:38 road personal best.  Erkesso, 27, is the reigning Boston Marathon champion with great 10-K speed (31:13.67 track/31:51 road).  Lewy Boulet, 36, is having a breakthrough year, running 2:26:22 at last April’s Rotterdam Marathon.

“This is an electrifying field full of accomplished veterans like Lornah, Derartu, Benita, and Kim matched up against the hottest star on the rise in Linet,” said race director Mary Wittenberg, the NYRR president and CEO.  “Additionally, it will be a treat to see Paula and Kara out there participating along with thousands of other women.”

The Mini was founded at a time when running opportunities for women were severely limited (the first edition only had 78 participants).  It ultimately became a platform for the world’s top track stars and marathoners, and race champions include Australia’s Lisa Ondieki, Norway’s Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen, Britain’s Liz McColgan and Paula Radcliffe, Kenya’s Tegla Loroupe and Delillah Asiago, America’s Deena Kastor and Anne-Marie Lauck, and New Zealand’s Anne Audain.  The course record is 30:28.6 by Morocco’s Asmae Leghzaoui.

This year’s Mini has a $35,000 prize money purse, and the winner will earn $10,000.

Registration for recreational runners is available at http://nyrr.org/races/2010/mini/index.asp.  Sorry guys, only women are allowed.

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