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By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly

NEW YORK (05-May) -- Trading surges on New York City's West Side Highway last July, Kenya's Patrick Makau and Ethiopia's Tadesse Tola battled for victory at the NYC Half-Marathon.  Already a world championships medalist at the distance, Makau seemed to have the odds in his favor.  But Tola put in a surprising burst in the final 100 meters to take the title by just one second.

On Saturday, May 16, Makau has his chance at a rematch with Tola and a second opportunity to earn a generous bonus: $20,000 for breaking Dathan Ritzenhein's Healthy Kidney 10-K course record of 28:08.  That's the same bonus Makau missed when he won the Healthy Kidney last year.  Running a 4:23 first mile on Central Park's hilly loop road, Makau slowed badly in the second half to finish in 28:19.  Still, the run was good enough for the $7500 first prize and Makau's first victory in New York.

Makau has wheels, but so does Tola.  The Kenyan split the 10-K at last February's RAK Half-Marathon in 27:42 on his way to a blistering 58:52 victory.  But Tola has run 27:04.89 on the track and, as he showed Makau last summer, has a wicked finishing kick.  The NYC Half victory was one of only three major road racing victories Tola scored in the United States last summer.

Interestingly, neither man may be the prerace favorite.  Two-time ING New York City Marathon champion Marilson Gomes dos Santos is also in the field.  He's run 27:28.12 for 10,000m, and was second at the Healthy Kidney 10-K last year, just 12 seconds behind Makau.  There are also Americans Abdi Abdirahman (27:16.99) and Anthony Famiglietti (27:37.74) in the field, along with Ireland's Martin Fagan (27:58.48) and New Zealand's Adrian Blincoe (13:10.19 5000m PB).  Like Gomes dos Santos, they're all Olympians.

"Last year, Patrick blasted through the first 5-K and hung on to win, humbled by the hills of Central Park," said New York Road Runners' president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.  "With Tadese, who outsprinted him in the NYC Half-Marathon headlining the field of contenders, Patrick will need a great day [to win]."

This will be the fifth edition of the Healthy Kidney 10-K, made possible with sponsorship support from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.  The race, which recorded 6,273 finishers last year, benefits the National Kidney Foundation.



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