15:19 Wins Freihofer’s 5K

Defending Champion Mamitu Daska Prevails at 34th Freihofer‰Ûªs Run for Women in Albany, NY

ALBANY, NY (June 2, 2012) ‰ÛÓ A wet and overcast
morning did nothing to dampen the intensity of competition in the 34th
annual Freihofer‰Ûªs Run for Women, held this morning on the streets of
Albany. Close to 5000 women lined up on Madison Avenue, adjacent to the
Empire State Plaza, in the heart of the New York state capital. Among
them were some of the world‰Ûªs finest middle and long distance runners,
including defending champion, Mamitu Daska from Ethiopia, three-time
champion, Benita Willis (Australia) and a host of others, all with
their eyes on the first place prize of $10,000.

Despite the intentions of anybody else in the elite field, however,
once the gun sounded, this race was all about the defending champion.
Twelve months previously, she had been aggressive from the opening
strides; this time around, she was even more so. As the field charged
through the opening uphill 600m, Daska was immediately at the
forefront, joined only by her compatriots Alemitu Abera and Ashu Kasim,
plus Kenya‰Ûªs Genoveva Kigen, Jellilah Tinega and Gesabwa Risper.
Nearing the one kilometer mark in Washington Park, that group was down
to just Daska, Kigen and Abera; and, by one mile (5:00) the leader was
in unquestioned control.

So early in the race, nothing could be set in stone; but, as the
defending champ forged onward, the only indication that there might be
some question in her mind came from the occasional backward glance over
her shoulder.

Leaving the rolling pathways of the Park and turning onto Lake
Avenue, Daska was in total control. Behind her, Kigen and Abera were
forced to deal with the challenges of Kasim and Risper, not to mention
an emergent phalanx of Americans, fronted by Michelle Frey, Laura
Thweatt, Rebecca Donaghue and Lindsey Scherf. Willis was also in the
mix; though, for once, she was not the sole Australian, being joined by
her compatriot, Lara Tamsett.

That battle was for the minor placings, however. At the forefront,
Daska was all alone and unchallenged. As she passed two miles (10.01 ‰ÛÒ
a second mile of 5:01), the question began to emerge: could she
challenge the blazing fast course record of 15:12, set by Emily Chebet
in 2010? On that occasion, Chebet had closed with a lightning fast
final kilometer: 2:41. Chebet had also had late race company. Daska was
flying solo.

Even so, with 1K remaining, the record was within her grasp. It‰Ûªs a
long way home, however; and, with no one to challenge her, even a
runner as dominant as Daska sometimes has to concede. Although she
blasted the long downhill stretch to the finish line, her finishing
time of 15:20, missed the course all time best by eight seconds. That
was hardly cause for disappointment; the re-crowned champion still held
a massive 17 second margin over second placed Ashu Kasim (15:37), who
prevailed in the battle for the minor placings over Alemitu Abera

‰ÛÏEven under these weather conditions, I enjoyed the race and I feel
good about it,‰Û commented Daska. ‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm very happy to have won for the
second year. I did feel confident, but the fans along the course made
me even more confident, and that helped me to win. I was most fearful
of the other two Ethiopians.‰Û

Kasim, who experienced some back pain immediately before the start,
had hoped for a different result. ‰ÛÏI thought I would catch her,‰Û she
stated, ‰ÛÏbut I was a little tired.‰Û Among the American hopefuls,
Michelle Frey fronted one of the finest domestic Freihofer‰Ûªs
performances in some years. Her sixth place finish (16:03), led four
Americans into the top 11. Last year there were three in 10.

The masters‰Ûª race among competitors aged 40 and above was a true
nail biter. Sheri Piers, coached by Benita Willis and the first placed
American overall at this year‰Ûªs Boston Marathon, held a marginal lead
for much of the race, though she was shadowed all the way by new
40-year old Dorota Gruca from Poland, a 2008 Olympic marathoner. In the
latter stages, however, Gruca‰Ûªs strength told the tale and she crossed
the line 10 seconds up, 16:50 to 17:00. Third place went to last year‰Ûªs
winner, Lisa Harvey from Canada (17:22).

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm happy I could win,‰Û exulted Gruca. ‰ÛÏMy training has been going
very well. I ran a smart race and I was a little careful in the first
mile. I‰Ûªm used to this humidity; I‰Ûªm training in New Mexico. The girl I
ran with (Piers) did a great job.‰Û

Prior to the women‰Ûªs 5K, the national championship 10K race walk
was held in the spectacular surroundings of the Empire State Plaza. As
with Mamitu Daska, the damp conditions did nothing to inhibit some
dominant performances. Among the men, Dan Serianni from Rochester, NY,
prevailed by well over a minute, taking the US title in a time of 44:25
from Miami‰Ûªs Michael Mannozzi (45:40). Third place went to New Jersey‰Ûªs
Richard Luettchau in a time of 45:46.

The ever-green Teresa Vaill, 49 years old from Gainesville, FL,
claimed the women‰Ûªs title in even more dominating style. Her time of
47:41 earned her the US crown by well over two minutes from Owego, NY‰Ûªs
Erin Taylor-Talcott (50:00). Susan Randall from Miami placed third in

‰ÛÏEvery year at this race, I feel that I‰Ûªve witnessed something
special in our city,‰Û enthused Race Director George Regan. ‰ÛÏAll these
events have become so dear to the people of Albany, that it‰Ûªs now a
part of our culture. Our elite athletes are welcomed so warmly, and
they come back again and again. Our race field gets bigger every year
and we do all that we came to make everybody know how special they are.
And the competition simply gets better and better. This year, the rain
made no difference at all. We had a fantastic race, and a fantastic
day. It was a great day for Albany.‰Û

Event sponsors include the Charles Freihofer Baking Company, Price
Chopper Supermarkets, CSC, The City of Albany, FOX23, the Times Union,
and 99.5 The River.

Top 10 Open

1 15:19.1 Mamitu Daska Ethiopia $10,000
2 15:36.7 Ashu Kasim Ethiopia $5,000
3 15:40.2 Alemitu Abera Ethiopia $3,000
4 15:46.1 Gesabwa Risper Kenya $2,000
5 15:52.4 Genoveva Kigen Kenya $1,000
6 16:02.2 Michelle Frey USA $750
7 16:06.6 Jelliah Tinega Kenya $500
8 16:13.8 Lara Tamsett Australia $300
9 16:14.2 Laura Thweatt USA $250
10 16:16.7 Rebecca Donaghue USA $200

USA 10 km Race Walk Championships Results


1. Dan Serianni (21), World Class Team, Rochester NY‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_ 44:25
2. Michael Mannozzi (26), Miami Valley TC, Miami FL‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_…45:40
3. Richard Luettchau (27), Shore AC, Somerset NJ‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_45:46
4. Ben Shorey (29), Shore AC, Kenosha WI‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_47:15
5. Dave Talcott (52), Shore AC, Owego NY‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_48:31
6. Kyle Hively (24), Shore AC, Gallipoles OH‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_50:22
7. Dan O‰ÛªBrien (47), Pegasus AC, Port Huron, MI‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..53:09
8. Mark Green (56), Pegasus AC, MI‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_53:28
9. Andrew Smith (62), Pegasus AC, ‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.55:07
10. Bill Vayo (47), Walk USA, NY‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..‰Û_.57:29
11. Robert Keating (65), New England Walkers, CT‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_58:33
12. Bruce Logan (47), Park RW, New York City, NY‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..1:00:50
13. Tom Quattrocchi (61), Shore AC, NJ‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..‰Û_1:10:58
14. Omar Nash(38), Miami Valley TC, Miami, FL‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_DNF


1. Teresa Vaill (49), Pegasus AC, Gainesville, FL‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.‰Û_..47:41
2. Erin Taylor-Talcott (34), Shore AC, Owego, NY‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..‰Û_‰Û_.‰Û_..50:00
3. Susan Randall (38), Miami Valley TC, Dayton, OH‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_… 50:38
4. Rachael Tylock (19), Mansfield Univ., Mansfield, PA‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.‰Û_51:54
5. Maite Moscoso (34), Florida AC, Longwood, FL‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.. .‰Û_..52:53
6. Katie Smith (24), Pegasus TC, Grand Rapids, MI‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.1:00:17
7. Debbie Topham (58), Pegasus AC, Mayville, MI‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..1:01:02
8. Cheryl Armstrong (under 40), Raleigh Walkers, NC‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.1:03:53
9. Sandra Denoon (57), Florida AC, FL‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_..1:07:58
10. Panseluta Geer (65), Shore AC, NJ‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_.1:08:14
11. Maria Paul (47), Shore AC, NJ‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_‰Û_1:13:00


Freihofer’s, a leading baker of wholesome products, is
committed to fostering the growth and recognition of women in sports
and inspiring all generations of women to experience the benefits of
exercise and good nutrition. Freihofer’s continues to set the pace by
sponsoring the annual Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K. Now in its 34th
year, the event, which is home to the Master’s World & U.S.
All-Comers record, features thousands of women of all ages and
abilities from Olympians to recreational joggers, who challenge
themselves on the picturesque 3.1-mile course. For more information,
visit http://www.freihofers.com/



Click the above images to download high resolutions versions
Images 1 & 2: Ethiopian Mamitu Daska sucessfully defends her title
with a time of 15:19 at the 2012 Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany,
Image 3: Start of the 2012 Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany, NY.

All photos by Steve Jacobs sjpics.com

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