MEUCCI TAKES HEALTHY KIDNEY 10-K CROWN
By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved (used with permission)
NEW YORK (12-May) -- Daniele Meucci wrapped up a productive two-week trip to the United States with a
come-from-behind victory at today's UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K here on a sunny and crisp morning in Central
Park. The 26 year-old athlete from Pisa, who is sponsored by Nike and represents the C.S. Esercito club,
became the first Italian to win in the eight-year history of the race.
"Thank you, New York," Meucci told an enthusiastic crowd which had assembled at the post-race awards
ceremony. "I love you!"
Meucci, who has already been selected for the Italian Olympic team for the 10,000m, remained patient when
Ethiopia's Tesfaye Girma shot away from the field in the early stages of the race, building up an
11-second lead over the main field by the 5 kilometer mark (14:07). Meucci was part of a seven-man
chase pack which included Kenyans Leonard Korir and Gilbert Okari; Americans Bobby Curtis, Abdi Abdirahman
and Meb Keflezighi; and Australian Ben St. Lawrence. The group knew they needed to catch Girma soon in
order to stay in the hunt for the win.
"I think they're taking this seriously now," said New York Road Runners professional athletes manager Sam
Grotewold via cell phone who was riding on the lead vehicle.
In the "Mile of Truth," the uphill fourth mile from Lasker Rink in the Park's north end to Engineer's Gate
at East 90th Street, Girma began to slow. Meucci, Abdirahman, Keflezighi, Korir, and Curtis were now the
primary chasers. Curtis, who had been running well, suddenly slowed down.
"After mile four I got a significant cramp and I slowed down for a few minutes," Curtis told reporters
after the race.
Descending Cat Hill to the 8-K/5 mile mark, Meucci began push the pace and close down the lead on Girma.
He cut the gap to six seconds going down the hill, but still wasn't sure if victory would be his when he
reached the finish on the other side of the park.
"Until 100 meters to go I wasn't sure I could win," Meucci said through a translation supplied by his
manager, Marcello Magnani. "But I started to push."
Girma only had a nominal lead at 8-K/5 miles (23:01), and within a few more strides Meucci was in front
for good. Korir, who would later today attend his Iona College graduation ceremony here in Manhattan,
managed to stay close to Meucci, but could not match the Italian's power on the uphill finish. Meucci
ran 2:08 for the last 800m, finishing the race with a classic negative split: (14:18/14:11). Meucci broke
the finish tape in a personal best 28:28 with Korir two seconds behind in his professional road racing debut.
Meucci saw today's effort as another sign that he will be ready to compete well in Olympics, his first.
Two Sundays ago at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.,
Meucci finished third in a career best 27:32.86 to lock in his place on the Italian team. He went from
there to Beaverton, Ore., to visit the Nike headquarters and did one interval workout with American
10,000m record holder Galen Rupp. He then flew to New York on Tuesday for today's race.
"I am in very good shape, but not at the peak," said Meucci who won $25,000 in prize money, the largest
first place prize for any 10-K in the world. "My shape is growing."
Curtis, who hopes to make the USA Olympic team at 10,000m, managed to overcome his cramp and finish
third in 28:37, a personal best.
"It's good to get out and see where my fitness is," said Curtis, who is sponsored by Reebok. He called
the race "a step along the way to making the Olympic team."
Girma held on for fourth (28:38), and Abdirahman took fifth (28:56). The other 2012 Olympians in the race
finished sixth (St. Lawrence), seventh (Keflezighi) and 15th (Ryan Hall) who had a bad day. Abdirahman,
Keflezighi and Hall make up the USA Men's marathon team for the Olympic Games.
The women's race, which did not have a recruited international field, saw locally-based Ethiopian Bekelech
Bedada take the win in 34:54.
A preliminary tally by race organizers showed 7918 finishers, a race record. There were over 11,000
The UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K was founded in 2005 by the New York Road Runners and the embassy of the United
Arab Emirates, the race sponsor. The late UAE leader, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, received a kidney
transplant in the United States in 2000, and UAE officials wanted to create an event to honor the late
sheikh who died in 2004. The race benefits the National Kidney Foundation.
PHOTO: Daniele Meucci winning the 2012 UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K in New York on May 12
1. Daniele Meucci, 26, ITA 28:28 PB $25,000
2. Leonard Korir, 25, KEN 28:30 PB 12,500
3. Bobby Curtis, 27, Wayne, PA 28:37 PB 8,000
4. Tesfaye Girma, 29, ETH 28:38 5,000 + 1,000^
5. Abdi Abdirahman, 35, Tucson, AZ 28:56 2,500
6. Ben St. Lawrence, 30, AUS 28:59 1,250
7. Meb Keflezighi, 37, Mammoth Lakes, CA 29:08 750 + 500^
8. Gilbert Okari, 33, KEN 29:15 500
9. Mengsti Tabor Nebsi, 34, ETH 29:23 200
10. Henry Kiplagat Rutto, 29, KEN 29:31 100
1. Bekelech Bedada, 20, ETH 34:54 $1,000^
2. Alemtsehay Misganaw, 31, ET 34:57 500^
3. Muliye Gurma, 28, ETH 36:37 250^
^Earned NYRR member award
Excuse the editorial license as the team that crushed the 95-mile, 18-leg RIMAConn Relay on …