Vivian Cheruiyot, pictured here in 2009, defended her San Juan 10K crown in 2010 (Rafael Luna) © Copyright
General News

Masai and Cheruiyot take crowns in San Juan

San Juan, Puerto RicoMoses Masai upset Sammy Kitwara and Vivian Cheruiyot used all of her leg speed defend her title at the World’s Best 10K on Sunday (28 Feb).

The World’s Best 10K is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Masai Surges to Win

From the gun all eyes were on Kitwara, the defending champion, but early on Moses Masai had other plans for the field. At 2K Masai moved to the front of a pack of 12, which was making its way across the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge.

Coming off the bridge the runners were now on an asphalt road surface and the lead motorcycles already had their lights on during an overcast evening with temperatures hovering in the mid-80s (30+ C). That’s when Masai took it from the front and soon the pack was strung out single file, chasing the leader.

By the time they got back on the bridge at 4K (10:51) the pack was down to seven. Masai wore a red singlet in direct contrast to the pack which was neon yellow. They passed 5K in 13:36, under course record pace with Masai firmly in charge. Coming off the bridge Masai surged again and three runners gave chase: Kitwara, Geoffrey Kiprono and Wilson Kiprotich.

Kiprono pulled even at 7K (19:07) then Masai, on his toes, upped the ante once again, and he broke free. Over a highway overpass at 8K (21:57), Masai had 10 metres on Kiprono and he hammered on the way back down, gapping him now by 25 metres.  

At 9K (24:40), Kiprono was 30 yards back and Masai looked strong. He broke the tape in 27:19, a personal best and a course record. “I told my manager that I wanted to try and win this race,” he said. “I tried to push it and push it until no one was coming, and then I pushed it harder.”

Behind Masai, Kitwara (27:42) put on a fast finish to pass both Kiptrotich (27:45) and Mutai (27:44). Kitwara is preparing for the Lisbon Half Marathon and perhaps wasn’t as sharp at he could have been. “Sammy is in shape for a fast half marathon, not a 10K,” said his manager Frans Denissen.

All in all six runners broke 28 minutes, with Peter Kamais (27:54) and Moses Kipsiro (27:55) bringing home a $10,000 bonus check for breaking 28.

Cheruiyot outkicks Keitany

Defending champ Cheruiyot had all she could handle with Mary Keitany. The two broke away early and race together until the race had just 300 meters left. Then Cheruiyot surged with Keitany staying close and with 50 meters to go Cheruiyot surged again to secure the win: 31:07 to 31:09.

“We were together all the way and everyone wants to be number one,” said Cheruiyot. “We were pushing so someone could get position one. I was faster with my kick, so I won.”

Behind the two leaders Dire Tune ran a solid race to finish third (31:40).  Elvan Abeylegesse fell to her hands at the start but ran well enough for fourth place in 31:58.

Dave Kuehls for the IAAF

Leading Results -

MEN
1. Moses Masai   27:19
2. Sammy Kitwara  27:42
3. Geoffrey Mutai  27:44
4. Wilson Kiptrotich  27:45
5. Peter Kamais 27:54
6. Moses Kipsiro  27:55
7. Peter Kirui  28:12
8. Edward Muge   28:45
9. Wilfred Murgor  29:00
10. Silas Kiplagat  29:13

WOMEN

1. Vivian Cheruiyot   31:07
2. Mary Keitany   31:09
3. Dire Tune    31:40
4. Elvan Abeylegesse  31:58
5. Jane Kiptoo   32:06
6. Caroline Kilel  32:20
7. Belaynesh Fikadu   32:50
8. Beleynesh  Zemedkun  33:16
9. Ymer  Ayalew  33:18