Kiplagat Wins NYRR Mini in Dominant Style
by Chris Lotsbom
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (09-Jun) -- Edna Kiplagat cruised to victory here at the 41st edition of the NYRR Mini 10-K, winning easily in 32:08. After surging in the seventh kilometer, the 32-year-old from Iten, Kenya, gradually pulled away from the field, outlasting runner-up Aheza Kiros of Ethiopia over the final kilometers.
As the lead pack left the start in Columbus Circle and made its way up Central Park West, silence briefly greeted the runners as they ran the long straightaway before entering the park. A faint pitter patter became audible, the sound of roughly 25 pairs of racing shoes hitting the ground together.
American Lindsey Scherf led the pack through opening miles of 5:16 and 5:13, with everyone close behind. Bunched together were Kiplagat, Kiros, the Netherlands' Hilda Kibet, 2011 ING New York City Marathon champion Firehiwot Dado, and Burundi Olympian Diane Nukuri-Johnson, among others.
Not until the leaders passed the four mile mark (6.44 km) did things get interesting, as Kiplagat, the 2011 IAAF World Championships marathon gold medalist, took the lead, surging the flat and downhill sections on the East side of the park. Opening up her stride and running up on her toes, the lanky Kenyan looked in command, starting to push it into gear.
Only Dado and Kiros would respond to the initial surge, the former falling off a few meters later and the latter, Kiros, barely holding onto the back of Kiplagat.
"Yes, I was hoping to [catch her]. But on the downhills I kept finding my shoes were slipping and I wasn't able to catch up to her," said Kiros.
After a 4:49 fifth mile down Cat Hill, the fastest of the race by far, Kiplagat was alone. Once again, those on the press truck could hear a faint pitter patter, this time coming from the soles of only one pair of shoes - the leader's red Nike's.
Making her way through the final mile alone, Kiplagat broke the finishing tape in 32:08.
"This race was a great one. It was a great experience, 8000 women. I was lucky to be the winner," Kiplagat said.
Behind, Kiros would place second (32:18) and Kibet (32:34) third, overtaking Nukuri-Johnson and Dado for the final podium spot. Dado's quest for a Triple Crown --winning the ING New York City Marathon, NYC Half, and NYRR Mini 10-K consecutively-- ended in disappointment, as the Ethiopian wound up fifth (although she did run a personal best).
Kiplagat, who used the same stretch of Central Park roadway to break from Shalane Flanagan in the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, gained strength mid-race by taking advantage of the downhills.
"It was my plan to execute all of my abilities on the downhills. It was something I did in the marathon," she said. Using the NYRR Mini as a test event for August's Olympic Marathon, Kiplagat picked up $10,000 for first place.
Stephanie Rothstein was the top American in sixth picking up $5000, a special placing considering the 28-year-old was born in the city and lived on nearby Long Island for a year.
"Today was a good day for me," said Rothstein, who is preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m, possibly attempting the double with the 5000m. "It was a good indication going into that race, hoping to be in the mix."
American Olympian Desiree Davila finished eleventh in 33:38, the third American across the line.
"To come on this anniversary and have some pretty amazing people start the race with you and run out there on the same course is always exciting," she said.