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Korir, Gebre win Garden of the Gods

Belainesh Gebre

Belainesh Gebre

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – The Garden of the Gods Ten Mile Run is dry, high and hard. Yet Belainesh Gebre has managed to set and reset the women’s course record each time she has run this demanding race, and this year was no different. Gebre, 25,  ran a blazing 58 minutes and 45 seconds on the hilly 10-mile course, breaking her old course record by four seconds. On Sunday morning, Gebre placed  19th overall and outdistanced the women’s field by 2:28.

Leonard Korir captured the men’s race. He trains in Colorado Springs and grew up at 8,000 feet in Kenya, but said he has never gotten used to running hills in high elevation. The former NCAA standout at Iona College is no stranger to tough races, but said Sunday’s race was the hardest he had he could remember.

“I knew there were hills, but I thought maybe just one, two, three…four at the most.  But after six miles I was still seeing hills, at eight miles I was praying!  With just two miles to go, it looked like five!”

“The altitude affects me a lot…hills in altitude are so hard,” he said, adding that he prefers training at altitude and then racing at sea level. Korir settled into third for most of the race, then made his move in the final mile to take the win in 50:48, seconds ahead of Ernest Kebenei (50:55) both men broke the previous age group record for men 25-29.  Daniel Kipkoech was third in 51:06.

Despite the tough course, many runners agreed that this year’s race had ideal racing conditions, which was good for athletes but bad for previous records.

Along with Gebre, Nuta Olaru, 42, of Longmont, who finished second for the women in 1:01:12, captured a couple of titles from her race Sunday. Being a Colorado resident and USATF member, Olaru earned the USATF Colorado 10 Mile Champion. Olaru also set the women’s overall Masters record and the 40-44 age-group record, which she set in 2011. Finishing third for the women in 1:03:03 was Abnet Simegn, 26, of Ethiopia.

Among the Masters women, Connilee Walter, 40, of Colorado Springs, captured the title in 1:09:20.

The men’s Masters winner, David Scudamore, 43, was also uncertain if he had won until he crossed the line. Picking people off as the miles ticked down, Scudamore said he knew he was able to pull away from some of the other top Masters runners, but wasn’t positive if he’d passed all of them.

“Didn’t know for certain if the guys in front of me were old guys [chuckles] or not!” Scudamore actually crossed the finish line with time to spare, holding off  Masters runner-up Peter Fleming, age 52, by 37 seconds, 1:00:13 to 1:00:50.

The race also served as the USA Track and Field Colorado 10-Mile State Championship. Andy Wacker of Boulder finished fifth overall in 52:48, but won the state championship. Brandon Birdsong of Colorado Springs was second (53:18), followed by Jeffrey Eggleston of Boulder (53:56).

The Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Running series, which also includes the Summer Roundup 12K Trail Run in July and the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon in August.

37th Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run

Manitou Springs, CO, Sunday, June 9, 2013

Garden 10 Men
1) Leonard Korir, Colorado Springs, 50:47, $1750
2) Ernest Kebenei, Kenya, 50:55, $900
3) Daniel Kipkoech, Colorado Springs, 51:06, $475
4) Stephen Muange, Santa Fe, 52:16, $100
5) Nahom Mesfin, Flagstaff, 52:39, $50

USATF Colorado 10 Mile Championship
1) Andy Wacker, Boulder, 52:48, $250
2) Brandon Birdsong, Colorado Springs, 53:18, $150
3) Jeffrey Eggleston, Boulder, 53:56, $100
4) Matt Levassiur, Colorado Springs, 55:13 (no prize money)
5) Neil C. McDonagh, Manitou Springs, 55:29 (no prize money)

Garden 10 Women
1) Belainesh Gebre, Ethiopia, 58:44 – $1750
2) Nuta Olaru 1:01:12 – $900
3) Abnet Simegn 1:03:03 – $475
4) Rachael Cuellar 1:04:37 – $100
5) Kelly Calway 1:05:42 – $50

USATF Colorado 10 Mile Championship
1) Nuta Olaru 1:01:12 – $250
2) Kelly Calway 1:05:42 – $150
3) Christie Foster 1:05:57 – $100
4) Ashlee Nelson 1:06:52
5) Angie Sandy 1:07:57

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