Friday, May 09, 2008

Kenyans Sweep TC 1 Mile Crowns

Kenyans Josephat Kithii and Rose Kosgei earned victories at last night's TC 1 Mile on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Each gathered $4,000 for the win, but neither could grab the $10,000 time bonus for a sub-4:00 men's victory or a sub-4:28 women's win.

Kithii (pictured, left) won a narrow victory over countryman Haron Lagat; both were clocked at 4:09. Kosgei outdistanced Marina Munca of Serbia 4:37 to 4:41. Race conditions were cool, but a headwind blew against the runners on the uphill course.

Both winning marks established new course records. Two-time winner Luke Watson held the men's record at 4:16; 2007 champion Jenelle Deatherage held the women's standard of 4:52.

Team USA Minnesota's Emily Brown was the top Minnesota finisher in the race, crossing the line in third at 4:43. Stillwater High School alum Luke Watson, now an assistant coach at his alma mater Notre Dame, was the top Minnesota male, finishing 4th in 4:11.

Team USA Minnesota's Carrie Tollefson, racing for the first time since a bronchial infection kept her out of the Drake Relays and Stanford's Cardinal Invitational in recent weeks finished 4th in 4:46, just ahead of Rasa Troup, the Minnesota-based Lithuanian international, who clocked 4:48.

Full, preliminary results are available HERE.

Kithii won the men's race after surging away from the lead pack at 600m.

"It was nice from the start," Kithii, who anchored a Kenyan team to victory in the Penn Relays distance medley relay two weeks ago with a 3:58.95 split, said. "I feel I had a lot of energy but the finishing was also okay. The finishing, I was waiting for someone to come and push me so I could break the time."

Two-time TC 1 Mile champ Watson used a big late charge to grab his place in the men's results.

"I was really strong at the end and that's a good indicator for where my season is," the Olympic steeplechase aspirant said. "Once I could see the clock, I just went for it with everything I had and caught probably three or four guys there."

Women's winner Kosgei (pictured, right) took the lead early and ran alone to the finish for her win.

"I knew that this race is short," she explained, "so must go quick because it is short. A mile is short."

Kosgei won last summer's Boston Scientific Heart of the Summer 10K at Lake Nokomis with her kick and prefers longer distance races. Reminded that TC 1 Mile race organizers host a marathon in the fall, she laughed at that possibility, at least for now.

"Not yet a marathon," she said through a smile, "maybe in five years to come."

Photos by Gene Neimi.

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