Deep African field lining up at the 31st Annual Freihofer's
Run for Women

Runners from Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and South Africa to Compete at Prestigious
5k in Albany, NY on May 30

ALBANY, NY (May 21, 2009) — In the four years the Freihofer’s Run for Women has been open to international athletes, only one African athlete (Asmae Leghzaoui, 2005) has ever won the coveted title and the $10,000 first place check.

That may change in 2009, as one of the deepest African fields assembles in Albany, NY for the 31st running of the fabled 5k road race Saturday, May 30 at 10:15 a.m.

The African continent’s biggest threat to unseat three-time Run for Women champion Benita Johnson is Teyba Erkesso, 26, who comes to New York’s capital city having won last weekend’s 98th ING Bay to Breakers 12K (38:29). She also finished second at the 2009 Bloomsday Run and set a course record (2:24:18) at this year’s Houston Marathon.

"Teyba is definitely a threat at this year’s race and has a history of competing against Benita on the Freihofer’s course," said Elite Athlete Recruiter John Tope, noting that the Ethiopian finished third in 2007.

Erkesso will be joined on the start line by two fellow countrywomen: Ashu Kasim, 24, the fourth place finisher at this year’s Paris Marathon and Mamitu Daska, 25, whose U.S. results include third at the 2008 Parkersburg Half Marathon and fourth at the 2008 Falmouth Road Race.

Kenya, another nation with a deep running history, will also be well represented. No fewer than five athletes will make the trip to upstate New York, including Jane Gakunyi, 29, who competed for her country at the 2004 Athens Olympics at 5,000m; Millicent Gathoni, 22, winner of the 2008 Bolder Boulder event; Genoveva Kigen, 29, victor of the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K, which doubled as the US 25k Championship; Rose Kosgei, 27, winner at this year’s Hervis Prague Half Marathon; and, Salome Kosgei, first place finisher at this year’s Bermuda International 10k.

"Once again, Africa is well represented at Freihofer's," added Tope. "The Kenyans and Ethiopians are especially known for their daring hard style of running and are anxious to break the drought of recent years. I am sure they will be right at the front battling Benita for the title."

Other Africans expected to lead the charge include Burundi’s Diane Nukuri, 24, who represented her nation at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Rene Kalmer, 29, a 2008 Olympian for South Africa at 1500m, who’ll be making her debut on U.S. roads at this event.

To register for the Freihofer’s Run for Women, or for more information about the Freihofer’s Run for Women, the Freihofer’s Community Walk, Freihofer’s Kids’ Run, and CapitalCare Health & Fitness Expo, visit

Event sponsors include the Charles Freihofer Baking Company, Price Chopper Supermarkets, The City of Albany, Fox 23 News, B95.5, the Times Union, 74 State, CSC, Subway and Dale Miller.

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