Kenya’s Linet Masai, the reigning 10,000m World champion, won the 39th running of the NYRR New York Mini 10K Saturday (12) morning in Central Park in commanding fashion.
The soft-spoken 20-year-old, making her American road racing debut, turned the tables on her countrywoman Emily Chebet, to whom she’d finished a close second at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland in March.
Masai’s time of 30:48 in humid conditions was 19 seconds off the course record of 30:29, set by Asmae Leghzaoui in 2002, and is one of only four sub-31:00 performances in event history. Chebet, 24, finished second in 31:13, followed by Werknesh Kidane, 28, of Ethiopia in third (31:18). Four-time Mini champion (2003, 2005–07) Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands, returning to form after an 18-month injury layoff, finished fourth in 31:40 and New Zealand’s Kim Smith was fifth in 32:15.
Masai ran at the front of the lead pack that included Chebet, Kidane, and Kiplagat reaching the midway in 15:24, at which point she accelerated on a winding uphill section of the course and pulled away. “That was my plan, to go at 5K,” she said. “I pushed and tried to run my best.”
Masai, who won $10,000, had not toured the course in advance. “Now I know the course better,” she said. “I want to come back and break the record.”
The top American finisher was Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 36, of Oakland, CA, who placed 11th overall in 33:25. “My speed head is coming back,” said Lewy Boulet, who ran a four-minute marathon PR of 2:26:22 in Rotterdam in April. “I have a lot of strength from the marathon, and now I’m getting fast again.”
Goucher, Radcliffe and daughter Isla make an appearance as well
Finishing in an unofficial time of 44:36 in her 25th week of pregnancy was Marathon World ecord holder and 2001 Mini champion Paula Radcliffe, 36, of Great Britain. Radcliffe and 2007 IAAF World Championships 10,000m bronze medalist Kara Goucher, 31, of the United States, were in town to support the Mini, which is the original women-only road race, founded in 1972. Goucher is also pregnant; she and Radcliffe are due on the same day in September and they trained together last winter in Portland, OR. Radcliffe and Goucher had planned to run together non-competitively, but a back strain kept Goucher on the sidelines. In a moment that drew loud spectator applause, she and Radcliffe’s 3-year-daughter, Isla, stepped onto the course in the final metres and accompanied Radcliffe across the finish line.
“It was so enjoyable to run the Mini today,” said Radcliffe. “So many women find it hard to take the first step as runners, and a race like this is a good way to step into it. I completely enjoyed being a part of it.”
New York Road Runners (organisers) for the IAAF