SATURDAY'S FREIHOFER'S 5-K RACE BOASTS LOADED FIELD
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
May 28, 2009 - On a typical Saturday morning in Albany, N.Y., the capital of New York
State, the streets are completely quiet as the legislature is out of
session and most government offices are closed. But this Saturday will
be different, as over 3000 women of all ages will pack the streets for
the 31st Freihofer's Run for Women, America's top all-women's 5 km road
More than just a fitness gathering, the Freihofer's event is a truly
elite road race. Event director George Regan and elite athlete
coordinator John Tope have assembled a top-class international field
who will be running for a $27,000 prize money purse ($10,000 to the
"The race will have a good mixture of established runners and
up-and-comers," commented Tope in a statement. "It's always exciting
to have the defending champion return and then see who will line up to
Tope is referring to three-time defending champion Benita Johnson of
Australia, the 2004 world cross country champion. Johnson has run the
second-fastest winning time ever on the course (15:22.0), and won last
year's race over Amane Gobena of Ethiopia by a comfortable six-second
margin in 15:46 (15:45.3).
"This race holds a truly special place in my heart," said Johnson
through a media release. "Each year I experience a huge rush of
excitement and adrenalin. First when I step into the classrooms around
the community to talk to the kids and then second when I stand on that
start line looking up the big hill ready for a tough race ahead against
the world's best athletes."
It will indeed be a tough race. To get her fourth Freihofer's title,
Johnson will have to get by past Russia's Mariya Konovalova, fifth at
the 2008 Olympic 10,000m; Ethiopia's Teyba Erkesso, this year's Chevron
Houston Marathon and ING Bay to Breakers 12-K champion; Kenya's
Genoveva Jelagat Kigen, who has won five major North American road
races this year; and Colordo's Elva Dryer, a two-time Olympian who won
the Freihofer's race back in 1997.
"If she (Johnson) claims her fourth title here, she will hold the
second greatest number of victories behind Lynn Jennings, who won eight
titles between 1987 and 1998," Regan pointed out.
The race also has a strong masters tradition, and legends Joan Samuelson and Colleen De Reuck will be taking part.