Bolder Boulder champ, runner-up to have rematch at 30th annual Freihofer's Run for Women on May 31:
Duo join deep elite, Masters field for prestigious 5k event in Albany, New York
ALBANY, NY (May 28, 2008) - With the 30th Freihofer's Run for Women just days away, all signs indicate it will be another hotly-contested race among the open elites and the masters.
In addition to two-time defending champion Benita Johnson's bid for a three-peat, a strong Kenyan contingent will be on hand to prove they can dominate the short courses just as well as the long courses. Included in that group will be Monday's Bolder Boulder 10k champion Millicent Gathoni, whose winning time in Colorado (32 minutes and 49 seconds) was the fourth-fastest women's elite time in the history of the race.
Joining Gathoni on the start line will be fellow Kenyans Jane Gakunyi, a 2004 Olympian, whose PR in the 5K is faster than the Freihofer's course record (15:18), Genoveva Kigen, Evelyne Lagat, Florence Jepkosgei, Jane Kibii and Jacqueline Nytipei, who has finished in the top three of almost every race she entered over the last year, including a first-place finish in the Carlsbad half-marathon in April.
Also set to toe the line on Saturday, May 31 at 9:15 a.m. are Ethiopian teammates Amane Gobena (ETH), 25, (second at 2008 Bolder Boulder) and 2004 Olympian Meskerem Legesse, 21, whose junior records in the indoor 800m and the 1500m have yet to be surpassed.
"The addition of Gathoni and Gobena to our field has the potential to bring the race up a notch and place pressure on Asmae Leghzaoui's 2005 course record," said Event Director George Regan, noting that he expects a fast race. "Defending champion Benita Johnson will need to pull out all of her tricks to retain her title."
Hometown favorite Emily McCabe earned the distinction of being the top American at last year's Freihofer's, finishing ninth. Originally from nearby Queensbury, NY, the 24-year-old Duke University grad student says she's excited about coming back to Albany, where she competed during high school.
"I like coming back to do this race because it's close to my hometown," said McCabe, whose other recent accomplishments include a sixth place finish at last year's Pan American Games in the 10,000m and a seventh place spot at the 2007 Peachtree 10K. "It was nice last year getting my friends and family to come out and watch, and also to see some area high school coaches."
Recently recovered from an injury, McCabe says her workouts have gone well over the last several months.
"My confidence is back in my running and I know I can come back and do well at this race," she added. "I definitely think I'm capable of running a faster time than last year."
In the masters field, a number of familiar names will answer the starting gun on Madison Avenue. In addition to legendary marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson, Freihofer's legend Carmen Troncoso (competing in her 17th Run for Women) and hard-charging Sylvia Mosqueda will be vying for the top spot in the 40-and-above age bracket.
Mosqueda, 42, has enjoyed a lengthy running career since capturing the NCAA 10,000m crown at Cal State Los Angeles in 1988. Last year, she placed 1st at the Cooper River Bridge Run and 2nd in the Peachtree. As for Troncoso, she's currently the reigning Masters 10K champion for the 45-49 age group, and lays claim to two wins in the Freihofer's Run for Women's masters division since 2005.
With the race just days away, the excitement can already be felt on Albany's historic streets. Organizers are expecting a record crowd turnout this year in light of the quality of the elite and master's field and also the festivities surrounding the event's 30th anniversary.
"I think this will be one of the most exciting races in recent memory," said Regan, who has been the race's helmsman since 1982. "We have some of the most celebrated women in the world coming to race - some of them past and future Olympians. But not only that, there will also be thousands of other women as well, young and old, runners and walkers, celebrating the 30th anniversary of this event. I'm looking forward to a great day."
Last chance registration for the Freihofer's Run for Women Fitness Run 5k will be held from Noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 30th at the Empire State Plaza, concourse level. The $35 entrance fee includes a free commemorative t-shirt.
Event sponsors include the Charles Freihofer Baking Company (a division of George Weston Bakeries Inc.), Price Chopper Supermarkets, The City of Albany, Fox 23 News, B95.5, and host hotel 74 State.