Grete Waitz, Ingrid Kristiansen, Tegla Loroupe, Paula Radcliffe, Deena Kastor, Lornah Kiplagat, the list of past winners of the NYRR New York Mini 10K reads like a Who's Who of world-class female distance running. And that list now includes 2009 Mini champion Rose Kosgei.
The race's 38th running took place on a brilliantly sunny Sunday morning (7 June) in Central Park. Kosgei, of Kenya, ran an aggressive first mile in 5:04, accompanied only by Ethiopia's Ashu Kasim. Kosgei continued to press, completing the hilly second mile in 5:02 and dropping Kasim before reaching halfway in 15:52. Though she slowed in the second half, Kosgei was never challenged and she cruised to the finish in 32:43-the exact same time run by 2008 Mini champion Hilda Kibet.
The unexpected second-place finisher, Serena Burla of the United States, led a chase pack that formed after Kosgei's breakaway and finished in 33:04. Ethiopia's Hirut Mandefro, a resident of Silver Spring, MD, rounded out the podium in 33:13.
Kosgei, 27, was clearly delighted with her win. "It was a bit of a surprise to me that no one stayed with me," she commented. "I respected the other athletes in the field. I had no problems in the race, and I thank the Lord for my result."
Kosgei, the 2009 Hervis Prague Half-Marathon champion, has been training in Albuquerque under the guidance of her brother Abraham Kosgei; she returns to Kenya tomorrow to continue preparations for her summer racing season.
Burla, 26, of Ellisville, MO, ran a road personal best. The mother of a 5-month-old son, she was third at the 2008 USA Half Marathon Championships and will run the 10,000m at the USA Championships later this month.
"I was really excited," she said. "I really just wanted it. This sport is all about heart, and putting everything you have out there, and that's what I tried to do."
The race was to have included American marathon record-holder and three-time Olympian Deena Kastor, 36, who was on site but elected not to race due to recurring inflammation in the same foot that she broke during the 2008 Olympic marathon in Beijing.
"I'm just being super-cautious at this time," said Kastor. "I don't want to do anything stupid to jeopardize the rest of the year." She will travel to Canada tomorrow to have her foot examined by a specialist.
Kastor, the 2004 Mini champ, ran this year with New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg at seven-minute-per-mile pace.
The Mini's first running was in 1972 as the Crazylegs Mini Marathon, named for the then-fashionable miniskirt. The first race had 78 entrants; this year's Mini had nearly 6000.
New York Road Runners for the IAAF