ALBANY, NY (May 21, 2014) — Two of the most dominant names of this IAAF silver labeled 5K over the past four years will aim to become three-time champions when the 36th edition takes place Saturday, May 31.
Looking to take the spoils once again will be Emily Chebet (KEN), 28, who set the current course record in 2010 (15:12) and then won again last year (15:26) and her archrival Mamitu Daska (ETH), 31, owner of back-to-back titles in 2011 (15:19) and 2012 (15:20).
“I’m expecting this to be quite a contest,” affirmed Event Director George Regan. “This is a tough course and only a handful of women have won Freihofer’s crowns three or more times (Lynne 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 2nd 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 Wangui Kabuu, who represented her country twice at the Summer Olympics, finishing in the top 10 of the 10,000m race in both 2004 and 2008. Small in stature and easily spotted with her bouncy stride and high hand action, Kabuu set a new course record (31:48) at last month’s TCS World 10K Bangalore. She also finished 3rd at this February’s Tokyo Marathon (2:24:16), while also becoming one of four finishers to beat the previous course record (2:25:28).
Kabuu will rub elbows on the starting line with Afera Godfay (ETH), 22, a versatile distance runner with a 5,000m PB of 15:01:20 and a 10K PB of 31:52 and Buzunesh Deba (ETH), 27, a Bronx, N.Y.-based marathon specialist (PR: 2:19:59) who trains with her husband, Worku Beyi, and whose 2014 credits include 2nd place finishes at the Boston Marathon and New York City Half Marathon.
Stiff competition will also come from Rkia El Moukim (MOR), 26, who earned first place finishes this year at the Marrakesh Half Marathon, Hy-Vee Half Marathon and Shamrockin Run 8K, as well as a runner-up spot at the 2014 Crescent City Classic 10K; Zemzem Ahmed (ETH), 29, national 3,000m steeplechase record holder (9:17:85), who represented her nation in the steeplechase at the 2008 Beijing Games; and, Agnes Cheserek (KEN), 26, last year’s victor at the Jaipur Half Marathon and Eldoret Marathon and 4th place finisher at the 2014 Bloomsday 12K Run.
Race organizers have received additional commitments from:
- Rene Kalmer (SA), 33, a two-time Olympian who represented her country at both the 2012 London Games (Marathon) and 2008 Beijing Games (1,500m). Kalmer’s younger sister, Christine, 28, a member of the South African world cross-country team who also ran track and field and cross-country at the University of Arkansas, will compete with Rene in the event’s “sister-sister” competition and, in doing so, become the event’s highest ranked team.
- Genet Beyene (ETH), 19, an up-and-coming athlete who recently came in 4th at the 2014 Ethiopian Club Championships.
- Nolene Conrad (SA), 29, a runner who is comfortable on both the track and roads and whose recent results include a gold medal at this year’s South African 10K Championships and silver at the 2014 South African Track Championships 5,000m.
- Alice Kamunya (KEN), 23, whose 2014 accomplishments include silver medals at the Yuengling Shamrock 8K, Red Hook Classic 5K and Holyoke 10K. Based out of neighboring Schenectady, N.Y. where she lives and trains, Kamunya also finished 2nd at the 2013 Nairobi 5K and 2013 Nairobi Cross-Country meet.