Olympic Medalist Deena Kastor to Begin Comeback at NYRR New York Mini 10K

By NYRR.org
June 2, 2011

Fabulous field featuring 12 Olympians is led by defending champion Linet Masai, World Marathon Majors champion Liliya Shobukhova, and defending ING New York City Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat

The 40th running of the iconic women-only road race will honor the late Grete Waitz 

New York, June 2, 2011—Four months after the birth of her first child, American marathon record-holder and Olympic medalist Deena Kastor will make her return to racing at the NYRR New York Mini 10K on Saturday, June 11, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. The 40th running of the original women-only road race will be dedicated to five-time Mini champion Grete Waitz, who died April 19 following a long battle with cancer.

Kastor is part of a fabulous field featuring 12 Olympians as she opens her 2011 season following the birth of daughter, Piper Bloom, in February. She will toe the line with defending champion and reigning world 10,000-meter champion Linet Masai of Kenya, reigning World Marathon Majors champion Liliya Shobukhova of Russia, top British track athlete Jo Pavey, and New Zealand multiple record-holder Kim Smith. The ING New York City Marathon 2010 champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and Japan’s Yoshimi Ozaki, the silver medalist at the 2009 World Championships marathon, add to the staggering depth of the field.

Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands, a four-time champion of the NYRR New York Mini 10K, will also be back to take part in the day. Kiplagat is third on the all-time victories list for this event, behind Waitz and Tegla Loroupe, who each won five times.

“This will be one of the strongest women’s fields at any race this year, and fittingly so, as a tribute to Grete and her legacy at the Mini’s 40th running,” said Wittenberg. “With Deena making her racing comeback and defending champion Linet and so many others in the mix, we know this race will truly be one of the best we’ve ever seen.”

Kastor, 38, of Mammoth Lakes, CA, is the American marathon record-holder (2:19:36, London, 2006). She earned the bronze medal in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Kastor is the most recent American Mini champion, having won in 2004 in 31:44.

Eager to return to competition, Kastor is nonetheless realistic about her chances this year on the rolling 6.2-mile Central Park course.

“I am so excited to make my post-pregnancy racing debut at this year’s New York Mini. This race is a perfect fit to celebrate women and running, so it’s a great pleasure to return to the racing scene in New York City,” said Kastor, whose last race was the 2010 Virgin London Marathon. “After months of not being able to run while pregnant, it has been an exhilarating two and a half months of running again. Although I’m far from the fitness that I had when I won the race in 2004, I deeply look forward to being part of this year’s line-up.”

Masai, 21, raced to the title last year in 30:48, the fourth-fastest time in race history. She won the 10,000 meters at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

Shobukhova, 33, is the reigning World Marathon Majors champion, having won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2009 and 2010 and the 2010 Virgin London Marathon. She finished second in London this past April in a Russian national-record time of 2:20:15. Shobukhova has a 10,000-meter personal best time of 30:29.36, set in 2009.

Edna Kiplagat, 31, of Kenya (who is unrelated to Lornah Kiplagat), had third-place finishes at both the AJC Peachtree 10K and the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K in 2010, in her buildup to her win in November’s ING New York City Marathon. In her most recent visit to New York, she was the runner-up at the NYC Half in March.

Pavey, 37, a three-time Olympian and one of the top British track athletes of all time, has transitioned to road racing in recent years. She is the national indoor record-holder at 3000 meters (8:31.50) and two miles (9:32.00) and set her 10,000-meter personal best at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she ran 31:12.30 to finish 12th.

Smith, 29, recently announced her intention to run the ING New York City Marathon this year; she finished fifth in 2010 in 2:29:28. In April, a calf injury forced her to drop out of the Boston Marathon after leading for more than 17 miles. Smith holds 12 New Zealand records at distances from the mile to the marathon.

Ozaki, 29, was the 2009 World Marathon Championships silver medalist. She set her 10,000-meter personal best, 31:47.23, in 2005.

Lornah Kiplagat, 37, won the last of her four Mini titles in 2007 when she finished the race in 32:10, eight seconds ahead of Smith. A two-time Olympian, Kiplagat is a four-time World Champion and the former holder of world road records in the 5K, 20K, and half-marathon.

Other top contenders in the field:

·         Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 37, of Oakland, CA, will be competing in her seventh NYRR New York Mini 10K; she finished 11th in 33:25 last year. Lewy Boulet’s best Mini finish to date is fourth (2008). A native of Poland, she finished second in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

·         Dayna Pidhoresky, 23, of Canada, will take part in her first NYRR New York Mini 10K. Her 10K personal best, set this year, is 33:02.

·         Molly Pritz, 23, of Williamsport, PA, is a graduate of Bucknell University, where she was on the cycling team. Pritz is the reigning USA 25K champion and finished 16th in the Mini in 2010.

·         Eloise Wellings, 28, of Australia, earned the Olympic 10,000-meter “A” standard earlier this year when she ran 31:41.31 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, CA.

·        Lidia Simon, 37, of Romania, is a four-time Olympian in the marathon and took the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Games. She was also the 2001 world marathon champion.

Founded by NYRR in 1972, the Mini got its name when race founder Fred Lebow convinced the first sponsor to support a six-mile “mini” marathon—named for the miniskirt, which was then in fashion—rather than a full marathon. The first race featured 78 participants; the Mini has been on the NYRR calendar ever since.

New York Road Runners

Headquartered in New York City, New York Road Runners is dedicated to advancing the sport of running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and meeting our community’s needs. Our goal is to use the expertise acquired in our 53-year history to empower all people to live fitter, healthier lives through participation in our races, community events, instruction and training resources, and youth programs. Our races and other events draw more than 300,000 people each year. The ING New York City Marathon, NYRR’s premier event, is the largest and most inclusive marathon in the world, attracting the world’s top professional runners every year and raising $30.8 million for charity in 2010. NYRR’s running-based youth programs, which currently serve more than 100,000 children in hundreds of schools and community centers, promote children’s health and fitness, character development, and personal achievement in underserved communities. For more information, visit www.nyrr.org.


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