Seven Titles to Be Defended At Falmouth Road Race

From: Running

From: Running

The 39th edition features $116,400 prize purse.

From: Running USA

FALMOUTH, Mass. — Winners in seven divisions will be defending their titles in the upcoming 39th New Balance Falmouth Road Race – overall women, Masters men and women, U.S. men and women as well as wheelchair men and women. In addition, the men’s course record holder will be returning.

This annual Cape Cod summer classic will held at 10 am this Sunday. A field of 11,000 runners will race the scenic waterfront seven-mile course winding from Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights.

Last year, Ethiopian Wude Ayalew, age 23, won the women’s Open division in 35 minutes, 46 seconds, just four seconds ahead of 2010 Beach to Beacon champion Linenth Chepkirui of Kenya. In 2011, Ayalew bested Chepkirui at the Crescent City Classic 10K 31:33 to 31:44. Chasing Ayalew will be fellow Ethiopians, 2009 Falmouth winner, Mamitu Daska, 27, who finished first at 2011 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K in a personal best of 15:19 and Dire Tune, 2008 Boston Marathon winner with a 10K best of 31:40. Four-time Falmouth champion and two-time Olympic Marathon silver medalist, Catherine Ndereba, 38, of Kenya will return after finishing fourth in 2010.

Two-time Falmouth winner Colleen De Reuck, 47, of Boulder, Colo., who finished fifth overall in 2010, will defend her U.S. and Masters titles. Other American women to watch are Kenyan-born Janet Cherobon, 32, of Atlanta, Ga., who holds a 10K personal best of 32:37 and wins including 2011 Mercedes Half Marathon, 2011 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon and 2010 Marine Corps Marathon; Romanian-born Adriana Nelson, 31, of Fort Collins, Colo., the first American at last month’s Peachtree Road Race 10K in a PR of 32:49 and Frances Koons, 25, who has a personal 5000 meter best of 15:29.96. Six-time Falmouth winner and 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist, Joan Benoit Samuelson, 53, of Freeport, Maine, who was fourth Master and 16th woman overall last year, will again be a crowd favorite.

Thirty-one-year-old Gilbert Okari of Kenya who set the race course record of 31:08 in 2004 and defending U.S. men’s champion Ed Moran, 30, of Williamsburg, Va., will be competing against a packed men’s field. Challengers include Americans Abdi Abdirahman, 34, of Tucson, Ariz., three-time Olympian, four-time USA 10K champion with a 27:22.81 10,000 meter best; Mo Trafeh, 26, of Tampa, Fla. with a half-marathon best of 1:00:39; Fasil Bizuneh, 31, of Indianapolis, Ind., the 2010 USA 10 Mile champion with a 27:50.48 10,000 meter best as well as Fernando Cabada, 29, of Boulder, Colo., the 2011 USA 25K champion in 1:15:41. Others include Kenyans Micah Kogo, 25, Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters, 2007 Falmouth winner and a 10K best of 27:15; Canadian Simon Bairu, 28, with 27:23 10,000 meter best and Ethiopian Bekana Daba, 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon winner and course record holder (2:07:04).

Last year, one second separated the 2010 Masters men’s winner forty-five-year-old Mbarak Hussein from Albuquerque, N.M., (34:38) and Kenyan James Koskei (34:39), age 42. They both will be back this year. American running legends Bill Rodgers, 63, of Sherborn, Mass. and two-time Olympic medalist Frank Shorter, also 63, of Boulder, Colo. will be joining the field. Defending and eight-time champion, Craig Blanchette, 43, of Battle Group, Wash., leads the men’s wheelchair field, while defending and four-time women’s winner, Jessica Galli, 27, from Savoy, Ill. leads the women’s wheelchair field.

Prize money totaling $116,400 will be paid to the top international and U.S. finishers, an increase of $14,900 over 2010. The American prize purse is the largest outside a national championship and non-marathon with the male and female prize totals of $22,350 each. This total will equal the Open male and female prize purse with double-dipping allowed. In addition, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race male and female wheelchair prize purse has been increased to $4250 each from $2500.

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