Lornah Kiplagat Poised for Comeback at NY Mini-10k

By Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (11-Jun) -- It's been a long wait for Lornah Kiplagat.  The 36 year-old four-time world champion from the Netherlands has spent a year and a half on the sidelines, anticipating her return from October, 2009, surgery to remove a large cyst on her right knee.  In the time since her operation, Kiplagat has focused on getting back to her peak form, when she was one of the top distance runners in the world.

The first step towards regaining that form will come here tomorrow at the 39th NYRR New York Mini-10k in Central Park.

"It's been quite some time," said the four-time Mini 10-K Champion, who is going for a record five Mini 10-K wins, a mark shared now by Kenyan Tegla Loroupe and Norwegian Grete Waitz.  "I am really looking forward to it."

The half-marathon world recorder holder and winner of the 2003, '05, '06 and '07 Mini, Kiplagat will be looking to learn a lot from the race.

"Tomorrow will tell me where I am, and where my future will be," said the Dutchwoman, her hair in intricate braids.  Originally from Kenya, Kiplagat now trains in Iten, at her own High Altitude Training Camp.

Kiplagat had been dealing with the knee cyst for the last seven years, but had gotten over the pain through strength training.  After eight months of consulting doctors, she decided it was time to get it removed last October.

"It was the right time for it to come out," she explained.  "With the Olympics coming up [in 2012], it was time... It reached a point where, three doctors from different countries were like, yes, we have to go for it."

But don't be fooled.  Kiplagat is ready to compete for the win, she said.  Her recovery has gone well, and her physical therapy with Gerard Hartmann in Ireland has been intense, she told reporters.

"I have a plan, I will run my own race.  Whether I am in front or behind, it has to go by how I feel... I will run cautiously, [because] I don't want to blow it up," she said.

But in order to earn the victory, she will have to fend off four other World Champions, including three who are in top form: Linet Masai, Kenya, the 2009 world champion at 10,000m; Emily Chebet, Kenya, the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country champion, and Worknesh Kidane, Ethiopia, the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country champion.  Also contending will be Boston Marathon champion Teyba Erkesso, Ethiopia, as well as five more Olympians (not counting Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe who are both pregnant) taking to the line on Central Park West at 61st Street.

 *  *  *  *  *

For the first time in its 39-year history, the NYRR New York Mini 10-K will be streamed live over the internet.  The world’s original women-only road race will be shown on both the New York Road Runner's website, NYRR.org, as well as Flotrack.org.  Flotrack's coverage will begin at 8:30 a.m. (EDT), while the race begins at 9:00 a.m. (EDT), and will be followed by post-race interviews with many of the athletes.

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