Kenya’s Chebet Breaks Record at Freihofer’s

International field produces top 10 under 16
minutes; nearly 4,000 participate at premier women-only road race in
upstate New York

By Parker Morse,
Running USA wire

ALBANY, N.Y. – (June 5, 2010) – World Cross
Country Champion Emily Chebet set a course record of 15 minutes,
12 seconds in winning the 32nd Freihofer’s Run For Women 5K
Saturday morning in Albany. The previous course record of 15:18 was set
by Asmae Leghzaoui of Morocco in 2005. The six second shattering
was the largest record reduction in the history of the storied race.

Less than a week ago at the Bolder Boulder 10K,
Chebet of Kenya was third behind Ethiopians Mamitu Daska and Amane
, both of whom joined Chebet on the Madison Avenue starting
line between the New York State Museum and the Empire Plaza. This week
under humid conditions, Chebet, 24, used the rolling hills of Albany’s
Washington Park to sap the strength of the Ethiopians before blasting
away in the final kilometer.

Climbing from the start to the Washington Park
entry, eight women including former race champions Benita Willis
and Teyba Erkesso stayed in the park through the mile, which was
reached in 5:06. The first kilometer split of 3:12 reflected the
climbing the women had done up Madison Avenue to the winding park
drives, and the second largely downhill kilometer in the park was
covered in 3:00 and represented the beginning of real racing. Between
the 2K and 3K marks, as the race left the park for a tour around the
University at Albany’s downtown campus, a pack of four, including Daska,
Erkesso, Chebet and Edna Kiplagat, separated and began trading
surges. 3K was reached in 9:25 (another uphill 3:13).

Erkesso, the 2010 Boston Marathon champion as
well as the defending Freihofer’s champion, appeared to be laboring and
was the first to fall off the pack, shortly after the 2-mile mark, which
the pack passed in 10:06. Winding back into Washington Park and by the
masses of women still finishing their first mile, Daska still appeared
to be in control, reaching 4K in 12:23. When the pack reached Madison
Avenue three across to begin their long reach back to the finish line,
Chebet took charge.

Kiplagat, the 2010 LA Marathon champion, made
the best attempt at covering Chebet’s move, but the marathoners had
little chance of matching Chebet’s finishing speed, particularly coming
back down the same hill they had climbed at the start. Chebet ran the
final kilometer in 2:49.

“I felt good today,” said Chebet, who earned
$10,000. “I saw that my body was OK at 4K, and I thought, I am the
winner today. Yes, I feel the body is strong today.”

Chebet had previously run Freihofer’s in 2007,
finishing 6th.

Kiplagat took second in 15:20, with Daska third
in 15:23 and defending champion Erkesso 4th (15:36). Rebecca Donohue
was the top American, finishing 9th in 15:50.

The Albany area also saw one of their best local
finishes since Cheri Kenah‘s 1999 victory as Loudonville’s Liz
, a former Georgetown runner, finished 10th in 15:53.

In the Masters race (40 and over), Anzhelika
, 41, of the Ukraine won unchallenged in 16:40, while
Canadian Lisa Harvey was runner-up in 17:05. In the 50 plus race,
and past Freihofer’s Masters champions, evergreen Carmen Troncoso,
51, of Austin, Texas and running icon Joan Benoit Samuelson, 53,
of Freeport, Maine battled until the end with Troncoso just edging the
1984 Olympic gold medalist, 17:47 to 17:48. Troncoso clocked her 19th
sub-18 at Freihofer’s.

The 32nd running of the all-women’s 5K saw 3,927
entrants, not far from the race record 4,029 set last year.

“How could you not say that this is the greatest
Freihofer’s ever?,” remarked long-time race director George Regan,
heaping praise on the day’s competitors. “The World Cross Country
champion defeats a world class field and improves the course record by
the biggest margin in our history. That’s what I call a race. Plus, we
had the second largest number of registrants ever. This was a great day
for Albany.”

32nd Freihofer’s Run
for Women

Albany, NY, Saturday, June 5, 2010

1) Emily Chebet (KEN), 15:12*, $10,000
Edna Kiplagat (KEN), 15:20, $5000
3) Mamitu Daska (ETH), 15:23, $3000
Teyba Erkesso (ETH), 15:36, $2000
5) Belainesh Zemedkun (ETH),
15:44, $1000
6) Julliah Tinega (KEN), 15:48, $750
7) Benita Willis
(AUS), 15:49, $500
8) Amane Gobena (ETH), 15:50, $300
9) Rebecca
Donaghue (USA / PA), 15:50, $250
10) Elizabeth Maloy (USA / NY),
15:53, $200
*course record (previous record, 15:18, Asmae Leghzaoui
(MAR), 2005)

MASTERS (40 and over)
1) Anzhelika Averkova,
41, UKR, 16:40, $750
2) Lisa Harvey, 40, CAN, 17:05, $500
3) Paula
Wiltse, 41, CAN, 17:28, $350
4) Trina Painter, 43, USA / AZ, 17:29,
5) Carmen Troncoso, 51, USA / TX, 17:47, $100
6) Joan Benoit
Samuelson, 53, USA / ME, 17:48

For complete results and more, go to:

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