Komon, Kogo Highlight Healthy Kidney 10K

Micah Kogo will do battle with world-record holder Leonard Patrick Komon on May 14 in New York. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The two fastest men in history will go head-to-head in New York on May 14.

From: RunningUSA Wire

NEW YORK — The two fastest men in history at 10K on the road, Kenyans Leonard Patrick Komon and Micah Kogo, will go head-to-head at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K on Saturday, May 14 in Central Park to compete for a $25,000 first-place prize, the biggest winner’s purse at any 10K race in the world, it was announced by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

“It should be fast times in Central Park with bragging rights between Leonard and Micah at stake along with the $20,000 Zayed Bonus for beating the Central Park record,” said Wittenberg. “Add red hot Bobby Curtis and Ben St. Lawrence and one of our favorites, Abdi Abdirahman, to the field and it promises to be a sizzling run.”

Kogo, 24, ran 27 minutes and 1 second at the Parelloop 10K in Brunssum, the Netherlands, in 2009 to claim the world record. Komon, 23, broke that mark in 2010, blazing a 26:44 at the Singelloop 10K in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Both men have broken 27 minutes on the track: Kogo has run 26:35.63 and Komon 26:57.08. The two have gone head-to-head 10 times in their careers, with each defeating the other five times and Komon winning the last four matchups.

Pushing Komon and Kogo in New York will be fellow Kenyan stars Moses Masai and Simon Ndirangu. Masai, 24, the 2009 IAAF World Championships 10,000-meter bronze medalist, ran 27:19 to win the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico in 2010. Ndirangu, 26, ran 27:49 in his victory at the 2010 Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC.

After an injury-shortened 2010 season, Abdi Abdirahman, 34, of Tucson, AZ, returns for his third UAE Healthy Kidney 10K as he continues his comeback season with an eye to making a fourth U.S. Olympic team in 2012. Abdirahman finished sixth in last year’s race and won the 2009 U.S. 10K Championship in a time of 28:11.

Leading the challenge from the rising stars will be American Bobby Curtis, 27, of Ardmore, PA. Curtis became the seventh-fastest American of all time at 10,000 meters when he ran 27:24.67 to finish second at the Payton Jordan Invitational last weekend. Currently the third-fastest 5K runner in the world for 2011, the two-time Team USA member for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships won the 2008 NCAA Championship at 5000 meters in 13:33.93.

“I feel I have stepped things up a notch this year and I think that showed at Stanford,” said Curtis. “Now I’m looking forward to testing myself against even stronger opposition on the roads of Central Park. Last year, the 10,000 meters at Stanford took a lot out of me and I wasn’t able to produce my best in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, but this year I feel so much fitter and I think I’ll be ready to really challenge there.”

Ben St. Lawrence, 29, of Australia, currently the second-fastest 5000-meter runner in the world for 2011, will look to improve upon last year’s performance when he makes his second start at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K. In 2010, St. Lawrence finished seventh in the race in a time of 28:36. He finished third in the Payton Jordan Invitational 10,000 meters last weekend, a step behind his training partner Curtis, in an Australian record time of 27:24.95.

St. Lawrence’s countryman, two-time NCAA 10,000-meter runner-up Shawn Forrest, is another up-and-comer in the star-studded field. No stranger to the streets of New York, Forrest, 27, finished ninth at the 2011 NYC Half.

Also toeing the line will be American distance-running stalwart James Carney. The 32-year-old two-time USA road race champion ran a marathon personal best of 2:15:50 in Rotterdam last year.

All of the athletes will be taking aim at the course record and the $20,000 Zayed Bonus that accompanies it. The time to beat is 27:42, set last year by Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia.

The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K is an open race highlighted by a select field of professional male runners and offers $60,000 in prize money to the top finishers, with $25,000 for the winner.

The race is sponsored by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates to benefit the National Kidney Foundation, in appreciation of American medical excellence in the kidney transplant field. The late UAE president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan benefited from American expertise, knowledge and research when he received a kidney transplant in 2000. Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was most proud of being a kidney transplant survivor.

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