Kenyans Micah Kogo and Catherine Ndereba took top honours at the 35th CIGNA Falmouth Road Race on Sunday (12).
In his first appearance in the race, the 21-year-old Kogo clocked 31:53 over the seven mile course, averaging 4:33 per mile, finishing 20 seconds ahead of another first-time Falmouth competitor and U.S. Olympic Marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezghi, who followed in 32:13.
This year's time was off Gilbert Okari's 2004 course record of 31:08., but Kogo continued Kenyan domination of race, registering the 15th victory in the last 17 years. Kogo didn't qualify for th Kenya's squad for the upcoming World Championships, but looks forward to returning to the Memorial Van Damme IAAF Golden League meeting in Brussels where he ran 26:35.63 last year, the fastest 10,000m performance in 2006.
Ndereba, the Olympic Marathon silver medalist Catherine Ndereba, captured her fourth Falmouth title in 36:31, nine seconds ahead of 34-year-old Romanian Luminta Talpos and 1:29 shy of Lornah Kiplagat's 2004 course record. 27-year-old Kate O'Neill (USA), who trains in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and a local Milton, Mass. native, finished third in 36:52.
Conservative start in men's race
Crystal blue skies and temperatures hovering near 80 degrees greeted the field, a record 8,900-plus, at the Woods Hole start line. At the Nobska Light House mile one marker, a group of 18 – 20 men ran a conservative 4:42. The leaders included Kogo, Keflezghi, and Nelson Kiplagat. Over the shaded rolling course, between miles one and two, the men's pack picked up the pace, passing mile two in 9:18, a 4:35 split. At the two-mile water station, Fernando Cabada who will represent the USA in the 2007 World Championships Marathon team, made a move to the front that was swiftly covered by the pack. As the leaders broke out of the woods and onto Surf Drive, the pack thinned to 11 led by Kogo, Keflezghi and Kiplagat. At mile three the leaders posted a solid time of 13:53 with another 4:35 mile split. The three leaders passed mile four in 18:20 picking up the pace with a 4:27 split and mile five in 22:50, with a 4:30 split.
Turning onto Scranton Avenue along Falmouth Harbor, Kiplagat fell off the pace set by Kogo and Keflezghi. Moments later, Kogo threw in a surge which Keflezghi could not cover. Kogo pulled away smoothly passing six miles in 27:20 on his way to the win.
Ndereba shadows the pack before forging ahead unchallenged
From the start through mile three, the women's lead pack included last weekend's Beach to Beacon 10Km winner Luminita Talpos of Romania, Americans O'Neill and Pam American Games 10,000m champion Sarah Slattery, and Natalya Berkut (UKR) who finished second to Talpos last weekend. But shadowing the leaders was Ndereba. The places changed little until the fifth when Ndereba made her move, seemingly effortless, and never challenged.
Among the top 12 male finishers, Kenyans took seven places while Americans took four. On the women's side, Americans took five of the top 12 places.
Riley, Willard take Mile titles
On Saturday, Americans Jonathan Riley and Anne Willard won the Falmouth Mile races, run on the local high school track. Closing with a 56.8 final lap, Riley cruised to a 3:57.07 effort, an event record and career best. Chris Solinsky, this year's NCAA 5000m champion, was second, just missing the four-minute barrier in 4:00.10.
Willard, who finished second in the 3000m Steeplechase at the US championships in June and heading to Osaka, won a tactical race in 4:37.55. Amy Mortimer was second, clocking 4:38.44.
Organisers for the IAAF
Top 10 Finishers (7 miles):
1. Micah Kogo, KEN 31.53
2. Meb Keflezighi, USA 32.13
3. Nelson Kiplagat, KEN 32.21
4. Nicholas Kamakya, KEN 32.33
5. William Chebon, KEN 32.36
6. Tom Nyariki, KEN 32.39
7. James Carney, USA 32.45
8. Karim El Mabchour, MAR 32.58
9. John Itati, KEN 33.01
10. Linus Maiyo, KEN 33.12
1. Catherine Ndereba, KEN 36.31
2. Luminita Talpos, ROM 36.40
3. Kate O'Neill, USA 36.52
4. Natalya Berkut, UKR 37.23
5. Alicia Shay, USA 37.28
6. Sara Slattery, USA 37.33
7. Angelina Mutuku, KEN 37.39
8. Galina Aleksandrova, RUS 38.04
9. Melissa Cook, USA 38.14
10. Maryna Dubrova, UKR 38.41