Kenyans, Ethiopians Set To Dominate At Crescent City Classic

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Castille Going for American Masters Record

By David Monti
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
March 29, 2013

Athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia are set to dominate tomorrow’s 35th Crescent City Classic 10-K in New Orleans which will be contested on a new, record-eligible course.  The race, which recorded 16,516 finishers last year, is always held the Saturday before Easter.

The men’s contest will feature the road racing debut for young Kenyan Isiah Koech, 19, the fifth place finisher at last summer’s 5000m at the London Olympics.  He boasts world class 5000m and 10,000m personal bests of 12:48.64 and 27:17.03, respectively.

Koech’s key rivals should be compatriots David Bett, the 2010 world junior 5000m champion; Allan Kiprono, the winner of the 2012 BAA Distance Medley; Lanni Rutto, Kiprono’s training partner; and the resurgent Philip Mosima, the 1993/’94 world junior cross country champion.  The entry file provided by elite athlete coordinator Andrew Lilly shows 21 Kenyan men on the start list, including steeplechaser Haron Lagat who will act as a pacemaker.  Shadrack Korir of Eugene, Ore., is the top American entered.

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On the women’s side, two Ethiopians have been given the top two seeded bibs, Hiwot Ayalew and Sofia Shemsu.  Ayalew, 23, is in excellent form.  She won the silver medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships last Sunday in Poland.  Shemsu, just 18, raced in the junior race at World Cross, finishing sixth.  Ayalew has run at least one 10-K on the roads (she was fourth at the Great Ethiopian Run in 2011 in Addis Ababa in 33:22), while Shemsu will make her debut at the distance.

The next three seeded athletes –all Olympians– are American Janet Bawcom, Ukrainian Lyumila Kovalenko and Pole Karolina Jarzynska.  Bawcom is the USA 25-K record holder, Kovalenko is the Ukrainian half-marathon record holder, and Jarzynska was the Polish 5000m champion in 2009.

One athlete who will not be trying for the overall win nonetheless has an excellent chance of setting an important record and could collect a $25,000 bonus.  American Kevin Castille, 41, who is originally from Louisiana but now lives in Nicholasville, Ky., will be trying to break the USATF-ratified American masters record for 10-K. That mark is currently 29:37 by Steve Plasencia set at the Beach to Beacon 10-K in 1998.  Castille recently set a pending USA masters 15-K record at the Gate River Run (44:58), and he passed through the 10-K split at that event in 29:39.

The race has a unique prize money system which offers varying percentage bonuses depending on the time achieved.  For instance, a man finishing in any place will have the prize money for that place increased by 15% should he break 28:20.  That number goes up to 60% for sub-27:20 for men and sub-31:00 for women.  Winners are guaranteed $6000 in prize money.

The 1:59:40 GOAT shirts are here
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