Two of the most dominant names of the Freihofer’s Run for Women over the past four years will aim to become three-time champions of the IAAF Silver Label Road Race over 5km when the 36th edition takes place on 31 May.
Two-time world cross-country champion Emily Chebet will be looking to take the spoils once again, having set the course record of 15:12 in 2010 before winning again last year, and so too will her arch-rival Mamitu Daska, owner of back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.
“I’m expecting this to be quite a contest,” said event director George Regan. “This is a tough course and only a handful of women have won Freihofer’s crowns three or more times (Lynn Jennings, Marla Runyan and Benita Willis). Emily and Mamitu are going to have to run a terrific race to earn a spot on that prestigious list.”
Although both women are in fine form, as evidenced by Daska’s victory at last month’s Cherry Blossom 10 mile and Chebet’s second-place finish at the Prague Half Marathon, the road to the podium won’t be easy. Elite athlete recruiter John Tope has pulled together another stellar contingent of international running stars who will battle Chebet and Daska all the way down Madison Avenue to the finish-line tape.
In their way will be two-time Kenyan Olympian Lucy Kabuu, one of the fastest women of all-time in the marathon and half-marathon with respective PBs of 2:19:34 and 1:06:09. Small in stature and easily spotted with her bouncy stride and high hand action, the two-time Olympian set a course record of 31:48 at last month’s TCS World 10km in Bangalore. She also finished third at this February’s Tokyo Marathon in 2:24:16, a time that was faster than the previous course record.
Kabuu will rub elbows on the starting line with Ethiopian duo Afera Godfay, a versatile distance runner with a 5000m PB of 15:01:20 and a 10km PB of 31:52, and Buzunesh Deba, another runner who has run faster than 2:20 for the marathon.
Stiff competition will also come from Morocco’s Marrakesh Half Marathon winner Rkia El Moukim, former Ethiopian steeplechase record-holder Zemzem Ahmed, Kenya’s Agnes Cheserek, South African Olympian Rene Kalmer, Ethiopian teenager Genet Beyene and Kenya’s Alice Kamunya.
Organisers for the IAAF