World's Two Fastest 10k Road Runners In History, Leonard Patrick Komon and Micah Kogo, Will Clash Next Weekend in Central Park At UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K

American Bobby Curtis Will Lead The US Challenge

By David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (05-May) -- The two fastest men ever at 10 kilometers on the road, Kenya's Leonard Patrick Komon and Micah Kogo, will go head-to-head at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K on Saturday, May 14, and compete for the largest first place prize of any 10-K road race in the world: $25,000.

The event, which will be held for the 7th time and raises funds for the National Kidney Foundation, is also offering a special $20,000 bonus to the winner if he breaks the course record of 27:42 set last year by Ethiopia's Gebre Gebremariam.  That sets up the tantalizing possibility that the race champion will leave the famous Tavern on the Green finish line in Central Park $45,000 richer.

"It should be fast times in Central Park with bragging rights between Leonard and Micah at stake along with the $20,000 Zayed Bonus for beating the Central Park record," said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg who sent a written announcement to the media yesterday about the race.

Komon, 23, took the IAAF-ratified 10-K world record away from Kogo last September in a memorable run in the Netherlands.  At the ABN AMRO Singelloop in Utrecht, Komon became the first man ever to break 27 minutes on the road, running a head-spinning 26:44.  His mark smashed Kogo's previous record of 27:01 set at the Parelloop 10-K, another Dutch road race held in Brunssum, in March, 2009.  Komon is also the world 15-K record holder (41:13), a mark he also set last year.

Moreover, both men also have excellent credentials at the distance on the track.  Komon has run 26:57.08, and Kogo, 24, has run even faster: 26:35.63.  Kogo is also the reigning Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m, and was seventh at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

Wittenberg also announced two more talented Kenyans for the race, reigning IAAF World Championships 10,000m bronze medalist Moses Masai (26:49.20 and 27:19 road) and 2011 Lilac Bloomsday 12-K champion Simon Ndirangu, (27:31.29/27:49).  Ethiopia will be represented by Lelisa Desisa (27:58), the winner of both the 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run 10-K and Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, and Australia will have its national 10,000m record holder Ben St. Lawrence (27:24.95/28:37) and 2009 NCAA 10,000m runner-up Shawn Forrest (27:52.10/28:17) on the starting line.

A trio of strong Americans plan to compete, Wittenberg said, led by former Villanova star and NCAA 5000m champion Bobby Curtis.  Curtis --who lives in Ardmore, Pa., and is a training partner of St. Lawrence-- clocked a personal best 27:24.67 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational last Sunday, just beating the Australian in a spirited sprint in the homestretch.

"I feel I have stepped things up a notch this year and I think that showed at Stanford," said Curtis, 26, through a statement.  "Now I'm looking forward to testing myself against even stronger opposition on the roads of Central Park."

Also representing the home country will be three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman (27:16.99/28:11), and James Carney (27:43.64/28:19).  Abdirahman, 34, from Tucson, Ariz., has been the USA national or Olympic Trials 10,000m champion five times, and has won three national road running titles at the 10-K distance.  Carney, 32, from Boulder, Colo., was the 2008 USA 20-K and half-marathon champion.

Wittenberg thinks the combination of the $60,000 prize money purse plus the Zayad bonus will generate some fireworks on the rolling Central Park loop, the site of dozens of epic running battles over the last 40 years.

"Add red hot Bobby Curtis and Ben St. Lawrence and one of our favorites, Abdi Abdirahman, to the field and it promises to be a sizzling run," she proclaimed.

The race is sponsored by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in appreciation of American medical excellence in the kidney transplant field. The late UAE president, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, benefited from American expertise, knowledge, and research when he received a kidney transplant in 2000, and the special course record bonus bears his name.  Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was most proud of being a kidney transplant survivor.

  NOTE: Race Results Weekly provides professional athlete consulting for the New York Road Runners --Ed.

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